A&P Falmouth staff consultation: 78 positions at risk

A proposed restructure of a ship repair company could result in the loss of 78 positions, the firm has announced.

A&P Falmouth, based in Cornwall, has started a 30-day consultation with staff and unions about the plans.

A gap in contracts, a "depressed" commercial shipping market and delays in the dredging of Falmouth Harbour has meant a temporary reduction in staff was "unavoidable", the company said.

The firm employs a workforce of 305 as well as about 80 casual staff.

'Temporary situation'

A&P managing director Peter Child said: "Ministry of Defence (MoD) work is over 50% of our business and, although we have a MoD contract for the long-term maintenance of Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) ships until 2018, the repair cycle means we are facing a big gap before the next refit, and the commercial market is still hand-to-mouth.

"It's never an easy decision to reduce our workforce and we will work with our staff to provide what support we can to those affected.

"We also see this as a temporary situation because we have two major RFA refits scheduled for 2015 and that will mean having to take more people on when those contracts start."

A&P had hoped to win a major contract to refit ocean survey vessel HMS Scott for September, but it was awarded to a competitor.

Mr Child said: "Nobody wants to restructure or make potential redundancies, but at the moment we cannot see any work in October and November and we just have to do something.

"We have a good workforce and a good union, but potentially it's a quarter of the workforce... we will do all we can to mitigate redundancies."

"We've been here 152 years and we plan to be here much longer," he added.

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