AROUND 150 jobs are to go at Rosyth Dockyard.

Babcock say the announcement is a "continuation of the need to right size" their organisation.

A spokesperson said: “The prospects for Babcock’s operations at Rosyth remain strong with great opportunities.

"Last year we began the process to reshape our business in order to remain competitive and take on new challenges, as the large-scale design and build phase of the Queen Elizabeth carrier programme reaches completion.

“Having assessed our current workload and medium term opportunities, we anticipate the loss of around 150 specific roles which are no longer needed in line with the rundown of the programme.

"Our employees remain our priority throughout this process.

"We understand how unsettling this can be and will work closely with those affected and our trade union representatives through this consultation period to redeploy or relocate as many employees as possible within our wider organisation and support those who may wish to take this opportunity to move on."

Cowdenbeath MSP Annabelle Ewing said the announcement was "very worrying indeed" for the workforce.

She said: “I entirely understand that when a company like Babcock has a massive contract – like the HMS Queen Elizabeth – employee numbers will reach a peak and then return to a lower level. But this is not the first announcement of job cuts to have been justified by ‘right-sizing’ at the end of the aircraft carrier project.

“There was a cut of 150 announced almost exactly a year ago and 250 the previous November. Workers will want to know when the job cuts as a consequence of the ending of that one contract are going to come to an end.

“Particularly frustrating is the fact that it is less than a month since the Royal Navy awarded Babcock the maintenance contract for the Queen Elizabeth and I know that this will be extremely galling for those whose jobs are now under threat.

“My understanding is that Babcock are now entering into a period of consultation with the workforce and hope to manage the process as much as possible through voluntary redundancies and redeployments. I would like them to go a step further and give a pledge that there will be no compulsory redundancies.

Ms Ewing also called for information about timescales.

“Babcock remains an extremely important employer in my constituency with around 1200 employed at Rosyth, even following this latest announcement," she added. "What I – and Babcock workers – want to know, is when these job losses are going to stop.”

Lesley Laird MP said the news was devastating for Babcock workers and their families.

“With HMS Prince of Wales nearing completion, the trade unions and I have called on the Government to immediately scrap plans to tender the £1.3 billion Fleet Solid Support contract abroad," she said.

“This Government is hell-bent on pursuing bargain basement contracts abroad – no matter the cost to us. Other countries protect their shipbuilding industry and so should we.

“The FSS contract would keep people in work, benefitting the workers, their families and communities, and bring in an estimated £285 million of taxes to help fund our public services.

“I will be in close contact with Babcock and the trade unions during this consultation period and remain committed to helping the yard attract future orders.”

Dunfermline MSP, Shirley-Anne Somerville, said she would be contacting the Scottish Government to ask about the support that will be available to anyone facing redundancy.

“Its disappointing news that Babcock is planning on reducing their workforce," she said. “Whilst I appreciate that employee numbers vary at different stages of large projects, this will not be of any reassurance to those affected.

“My thoughts are with constituents who work at the dockyard, who will understandably be concerned during this difficult time.

Following the announcement, Unite the Union said the Government's obsession with putting Royal fleet auxiliary ships out to international tender and delays to the Type 31e frigate risked thousands of good skilled jobs and irreplaceable knowledge being lost for a generation.

It described the job losses as a "kick in the teeth for the Scottish economy and a world class workforce that had worked tirelessly to build the UK’s two new aircraft carriers."

Assistant general secretary for manufacturing, Steve Turner, said: “The men and women whose skills built the UK’s two new world leading aircraft carriers at Rosyth are at risk of being lost for a generation in a blow to the Scottish economy and UK shipbuilding.

“The fear is that these job losses at Rosyth could turn into a flood and the industry left with a yawning skills gap unless the UK government starts supporting UK Plc by delivering on a shipbuilding strategy that guarantees the Royal Navy’s new auxiliary ships are block built in UK shipyards using British steel, in addition to bringing forward work on the Type 31e frigate for export around the globe.

“It would be a gross betrayal of a skilled workforce and British manufacturing if the government continued with its obsession to award such work to overseas shipyards and deny manufacturing and communities in the UK the economic benefits that building the Royal fleet auxiliary ships would bring.”

Unite regional officer Bob MacGregor added: “News of job losses is a bitter pill for a loyal workforce that’s worked hard and diligently to deliver the UK’s biggest ever warships for the Royal Navy.

“Unite will be supporting our members who are affected by this announcement while pressing the company to explore redeployment opportunities to keep job losses to a minimum.

“Unite will also be seeking an urgent meeting with the Scottish government to see what pressure it can bring to bear on the government in Westminster to save jobs by securing guarantees that the Royal fleet auxiliary vessels will be built in the UK and the delays to the Type 31e frigate programme lifted.”

GMB Scotland's Organiser and Chair of CSEU Scotland, Gary Cook, said the redundancies stressed the "urgent need" for the UK Government to ensure the three Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) vessels are built in British shipyards, including Rosyth.

He said: "The wind down of the aircraft carrier contract creates a vacuum at Rosyth with no significant manufacturing orders on the horizon. Let’s be clear what this means. Peak production at Rosyth sustains over 3,800 jobs and generates over £100 million in wages – that’s what’s on the line.

"Maintenance programmes for warships will sustain some levels of employment in future but it’s a feast and famine existence for yards like Rosyth, which needs large-scale shipbuilding to realise its full potential.

"Against the backdrop of Brexit uncertainty, we need our politicians to stand-up for working class shipbuilding communities like Rosyth and they can do this by demanding the UK government award the RFA contracts to British shipyards"

Prospect, the Union for Professionals, specialists and managers in the shipbuilding industry, expressed frustration and disappointment at the job cuts which they say brings the total job losses at Rosyth to nearly 600 over the past 18 months.

They have called on the UK Government to urgently review its decisions on contracts for Fleet Solid Support Ships and Type 31e frigates which could provide the work essential to deliver long-term security for Rosyth and its workforce.  

Jane Rose, Prospect Negotiations Officer said: “It is absolutely vital that the MoD places these orders with UK yards as a matter of urgency or the promised drumbeat of ship launches will be replaced by a lament for lost skills and our sovereign capability”.

Richard Hardy, Prospect National Secretary in Scotland, added: “Today’s announcement is a kick in the teeth to the highly skilled and committed workforce who only recently delivered the magnificent HMS Queen Elizabeth the Royal Navy’s aircraft carrier.

"If redundancies continue like this, the UK will lose the expertise it's built up in modular build and joint working. 

“The  decision to put the contract for the Fleet Solid Support ships (FSS) which will support and replenish the carriers, out to international tender must be reviewed and a proper commitment given by the UK government to its own National Shipbuilding Strategy.

“Prospect will be working hard with our reps, members and management to try and mitigate the losses, and as always we’ll seek to avoid compulsory redundancies. 

"There is no escaping the fact that our members are angry at further job cuts and the UK Government needs to step up to the plate to protect the highly skilled and dedicated workforce at Rosyth.”