Adelaide-based ASC will sack approximately 45 permanent boilermakers and welders from its Air Warfare Destroyer Project by the end of the year.
ASC Shipbuilding Interim CEO, Mark Lamarre said it was the first time permanent workers on the AWD project had lost their jobs at the Osborne shipbuilding facility.
“While ASC has seen contractors come and go in the normal peaks and troughs of shipbuilding activity, this is the first major reduction we have had to make to our permanent production workforce,” Lamarre said in a statement.
He added that further reductions in staff numbers were likely as the project neared completion.
“The reality is that ASC’s workforce profile on the AWD Program has reached its peak and will now progressively decline as we head towards the end of the project and various trades complete their component of the build activity,” he said.
Including the latest retrenchments, the company has now cut about 350 jobs since May.
Lamarre told a Senate estimates hearing in Canberra last week that it will be forced to cut 500 more jobs by the end of 2016 unless it wins more naval contracts.
“Until the outcomes of the Competitive Evaluation Processes for the Future Frigate and Offshore Patrol Vessel projects are known, it is not possible to maintain the current number of employees on this project as work winds down,” Lamarre said yesterday.
As the ABC reports, South Australia has an unemployment rate of 7.7 per cent which is the worst in the nation. Apart from the ‘valley of death’ facing ship building in the state, job losses from the automotive sector and elsewhere are also looming.
According to South Australian Defence Industries Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith, further job losses in the state’s ship building industry could be avoided if Australia were to decide to limit itself to just one ship yard that builds ships. That yard, he said, should be located in Adelaide.