99 Melbourne shipbuilding workers lose their jobs

99 workers left the Williamstown ship yards of Melbourne shipbuilder BAE Systems for the last time yesterday and more will soon follow.

The Age reports that the workers were escorted from the site at about 10am yesterday. They left behind about 500 workers who still have their jobs.

The company announced the redundancies last month. Those who lost their jobs yesterday will be joined by about 25 white collar workers.

At the time of the announcement, BAE Systems explained that the job losses were the result of the fact that, as a project-based business, employee numbers have to match the current and upcoming projects it has.

This is often referred to as the shipbuilding ‘valley of death’

AAP reports that Victorian Industry Minister Lily D'Ambrosio blamed the Federal Government for the job losses and claimed they could have been prevented by awarding BAE Systems a contract for the navy's new offshore patrol vessels.

"They haven't lost their jobs because they're not highly skilled," D'Ambrosio said. "They have lost their jobs because Tony Abbott has let them down."

Australian Manufacturing Workers Union secretary Glenn Thompson told the Australian he wasn’t expecting the sackings until the end of September.

 “The redundancies come as work for the BAE yard dries up and the industry sinks lower into the valley of death,” he said.

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