Scotland politics

Minister meets new recruits at Ferguson shipyard in Port Glasgow

Ferguson shipyard and Newark Castle Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Ferguson Marine in Inverclyde was nationalised by the Scottish government in August

Economy Secretary Derek Mackay has met some of the 17 new workers taken on at the nationalised Ferguson shipyard.

Ten more vacancies are currently being advertised, while 14 apprentices will be kept on when they complete their apprenticeships later this month.

Engineering tycoon Jim McColl was forced to hand the Inverclyde business to administrators in August.

Since then, the Scottish government has operated the yard under a management agreement.

The shipyard ran into trouble after failing to complete a £97m order to build two ferries for Scottish government-owned CalMac.

During a visit to the yard in Port Glasgow, Mr Mackay said the government maintained its focus on "ensuring completion of the two public sector ferries at the best value for money for the taxpayer".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The work to build two ferries for CalMac is still ongoing

He added: "Recruiting more staff to Ferguson Marine is a significant step forward in working towards completion of the two CalMac ferries, as well as achieving the best possible outcome for the yard and its employees.

"Work on the vessels is progressing, and the additional staff being recruited will play a key role in this work.

"Establishing a revised timetable for the completion of the two ferries remains one of the main tasks for the management at the shipyard, and we will be able to update further on this in the coming weeks.

"While there is still more to be done, our actions have ensured that there will be a future for Ferguson Marine."

'Future secured'

Gary Smith, of the GMB Scotland union, said public ownership of the yard had been welcomed by workers and their families.

He said: "While we are clear that there is no quick fix for Ferguson's and that the real hard work is still in front of us, this is the right thing to do."

Unite's Kenny Jordan said: "We welcome the positive progress that Ferguson Marine will continue to build ferries in Port Glasgow, giving an opportunity to expand the current workforce and the completion of apprenticeships that will assist future skill requirements."

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