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Royal Dockyards

Volume 84: debated on Monday 21 October 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will state the specific criteria he intends to apply in deciding whether applicants, companies or consortia seeking to manage a dockyard are British companies;(2) if he will make it his policy when seeking competitive tenders to manage the royal dockyards at Devonport and Rosyth to consider only companies where 90 per cent. or more of the shares are held by United Kingdom based individuals and institutions, or consortia where the constituent parties' shareholdings are so held; and if he will make a statement.

In his statement on 17 April at col. 261 my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence said that the dockyards would remain under British control after the introduction of commercial management. The land and fixed assets will remain in the ownership of the Crown. Any particular safeguards in connection with the dockyard undertaking, which might be included in the contract, are the subject of continuing study within my Department.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will estimate the numbers who will be made redundant at (a) Rosyth and (b) Plymouth in advance of a transfer of responsibility to a private operation, beyond those already announced in April.

There has been no change to the plans announced by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence on 17 April at col. 261 for a range of efficiency measures involving job reductions of about 2,000 at Devonport dockyard and 400 at Rosyth dockyard.It remains the Government's hope that the reductions will be achieved to the greatest extent possible through natural wastage and voluntary methods. At Rosyth dockyard it is anticipated that all the job reductions will be achieved through natural wastage.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what was the average redundancy payment to dockyard workers paid in 1984–85 and 1985–86 to date.

These figures are not held centrally and could only be calculated at disproportionate cost. As an example, however, a dockyard craftsman aged 50 with 32 years service would be entitled to between £12,600 and £16,700 in redundancy payments. A non-craft worker (Pay Band 8) of similar age and with similar service would be entitled to between £10,500 and £14,000. These sums would obviously be less for younger employees or for those with fewer years of service.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on his policy for voluntary redundancies at Rosyth dockyard and in the light of the dismissal notices recently sent to 36 engineering apprentices.

It remains the Government's hope that the job reductions at Rosyth dockyard will be achieved through natural wastage and voluntary redundancy. Following an agreement between management and trades unions on a flexible approach to the deployment of the apprentices in skilled jobs throughout Rosyth dockyard, the 36 mechanical fitters referred to in the question who completed their training this summer were offered permanent employment in the Dockyard.