BAE Systems cuts 125 jobs at Williamstown shipyard

Defence supplier BAE Systems has sacked 125 workers from its Williamstown naval shipyard in Melbourne, as the shipbuilding ‘valley of death’ takes effect.

The ABC reports that the job cuts come in the wake of the Federal Government’s announcement last week of $40 billion worth of investment in shipbuilding.

However, that investment will mainly benefit South Australian shipbuilding. It will be of no benefit to the 100 blue collar and 25 white colour workers at BAE Systems affected by yesterday’s announcement.

"Today's announcement is necessary because we are a project-based business and our employee numbers must match the needs and status of our ongoing and upcoming projects," BAE Systems maritime director Bill Saltzer said.

According to Australian Manufacturing Workers Union assistant national secretary Glenn Thompson, the job cuts were made because there will no more work at the Williamstown yard once the warfare destroyer project and the landing helicopter dock projects end.

"By Christmas, if the Government is unable to give some commitments around real work, the blue-collar workforce at BAE in Williamstown will no longer exist," Thompson said.

As AAP reports, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews expressed a concern that the company could completely close its Williamstown operation.

"My fear of course is that whilst it's 125 today, it'll be more in weeks and months ahead," Andrews told reporters.

"I think there are grave fears for the future of BAE's operations in Melbourne and therefore the Williamstown shipyard."

According to the Australian, Defence Minister Kevin Andrews yesterday said the government was disappointed BAE Systems did not tender for the Pacific patrol boats project.

“Had BAE successfully bid for this tender, it would have meant greater certainty for BAE’s workers,” he said.

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