Shipbuilder cuts workforce by 10%

Melbourne-based shipbuilder BAE Systems will cut 81 workers from its 800-strong workforce at its Williamstown shipyard in Victoria.

Melbourne-based shipbuilder BAE Systems will cut 81 workers from its 800-strong workforce at its Williamstown shipyard in Victoria.

BAE, which bought defence contractor Tenix for almost $800 million earlier this year, said it has been forced to cut staff numbers because of the long production cycles in the defence industry.

BAE has just completed one large shipbuilding project, but its next big contract – the Landing Helicopter Dock project – does not start until 2010.

“Williamstown cannot sustain current levels of employment over the gap of up to 18 months… which is caused by the long life-cycle of bidding and securing work within the defence industry,” a company spokesman said.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union says the Government and defence industry needs to work more closely to smooth out the peaks and troughs of production cycles and avoid job cuts.

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