BAE shipyard job cuts rally staged in Portsmouth

"Their policy on shipbuilding is flawed," John Ferrett of Prospect Union told reporter Briony Leyland

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A rally has been held in protest at a decision to bring an end to ship-building at BAE's yard at Portsmouth.

More than 900 jobs are due to be cut by the firm in the city.

About 200 demonstrators, some with placards, gathered in Commercial Road, where they chanted: "Job cuts go away, shipbuilding is here to stay."

Louis Macdonald from Portsmouth Trades Council said at the rally: "This is to show that the city is not willing to let the shipbuilding yard be closed."

There were 835 further job losses announced by BAE at sites in Glasgow, Rosyth, and Filton.

Mr Macdonald said: "There is no need for it. If BAE wish to walk away then let's get another buyer - either domestic or foreign."

'State of shock'

Penny Mordaunt, the Conservative MP for Portsmouth North, said: "I don't think industrial action or strikes are going to help us get to where we need to be.

"We need to send a message to business and also governments and to the Scottish politicians that we are a yard that is open for business."

Portsmouth Trades Council media officer Jon Woods said the campaign was being staged to put BAE and the government under pressure to save the shipyard jobs.

He said: "I think most of the city is in a state of shock.

"We want to ensure that the shipyard stays open and we firmly believe that not a single job should be lost.

"There's very short-term thinking going on here - we think we can force them to think again."

BAE Systems employs 3,200 people across Govan, Scotstoun, Rosyth and Filton.

The company said it had made the cuts because of a "significant" drop in demand.

The defence contractor and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) have together announced measures that they hope will offset the effect of the job cuts.

Among the plans are more than £100m of investment to expand the dockyard at Portsmouth.

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