1,300 jobs axed across country

RUSSELL HOTTEN

More than 1,300 redundancies in the steel, electricity and shipbuilding industries were announced yesterday, although electronics company Fujitsu lifted the gloom with news of 500 new jobs.

British Steel is shedding 520 staff and Eastern Electricity 400. And another job 415 cuts were announced at Yarrow shipyard, owned by GEC, the defence electronics giant which purchased the VSEL submarine maker earlier this year.

However, Fujitsu confirmed an pounds 816m expansion at its County Durham plant which will double the size of the workforce to 1,000.

It is the second big foreign investment in a semiconductor plant in north east England, coming on top of Siemens announcement last month.

When GEC fought off British Aerospace to win VSEL, it said there were no plans to rationalise the two yards and it intended to keep both open.

Ian Jackson, personnel manager, said yesterday: "That situation is unchanged. This redundancy was predicted many, many months ago - long before GEC purchased VSEL."

However, Richard Leonard, assistant secretary of the Scottish TUC said: "Some job cuts had been anticipated, but not now and not on this scale." He said this suggested that the redundancies were about more than just a gap in the order book. "It looks as though the takeover of the VSEL may already be fuelling long-term rationalisation at the Clyde yard."

The losses, out of a 3,100-strong workforce, will be mostly among the metal workers who build the hulls. Yarrow currently has one Type 23 frigate awaiting launch, and four ships in the water being finished off, with no orders in prospect until the end of the year, when the government is due to place new frigate contracts.

Meanwhile, British Steel said its Wednesfield tubes and pipes plant will close by the end of December at a cost of pounds 8m, including redundancy payments.

The plant has been a consistent loss-maker because of overcapacity and competition from more modern facilities producing seamless tubes for the oil and gas market. "There is no prospect of this situation improving," the company said.

At Eastern Electricity, Britain's largest electricity supplier, union leaders were angry at the job losses, which followed hard on the heels of the company's agreed takeover bid by corporate giant Hanson.

Unison said it was told the takeover would not lead to job losses.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Ashdown Group: Training Coordinator - Financial Services

£32000 - £38000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A highly successful, inte...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive - Affiliates & Partnerships

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This multi-award winning foreig...

Recruitment Genius: Retirement Coordinator - Financial Services

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor