Swan Hunter receivers to axe 400 shipworkers

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The Independent Online
THE FUTURE of the Swan Hunter shipyard is still in the balance after yesterday's announcement that 420 of the 2,200 workers at Wallsend would lose their jobs at the end of next week, writes David Bowen.

An estimated 100 further losses could follow if the company fails to win an order for two assault craft from Oman, Price Waterhouse, the receivers, said. The workers losing their jobs are not involved with the three Type 23 frigates being built by Swan Hunter. On Wednesday, Price Waterhouse and the Ministry of Defence said work on them would continue at least until the end of next week.

The MoD denied a claim made yesterday by Stephen Byers, Labour MP for Wallsend, that it had asked Vosper Thorneycroft in Southampton to quote for the completion of the three frigates. 'At this stage our declared aim is to have the ships completed by Swan Hunter,' an MoD spokesman said. But he would not rule out the possibility that another yard could take over the work. Mr Byers said he was worried that the first of the frigates, HMS Westminster, might not return to the Tyne from sea trials she started today.

(Photograph omitted)