Harland and Wolff set to cut 60 jobs at Belfast facility

Former ship builder blames lack of new orders for decision to reduce headcount

Harland and Wolff is set to axe 60 jobs at its famous east Belfast facility because of a lack of new orders, union leaders in the North have warned.

The former ship builder, which now specialises in design engineering, ship repairs and heavy marine engineering, currently has less than 200 permanent employees on its books.

Michael Mulholland a spokesman for the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering unions said the redundancies were the latest blow for the North's manufacturing sector.

"This follows hot on the heels of a large-scale redundancy announcement at Bombardier. It reflects the continuing crisis in the sector," Mr Mulholland warned.


He said management at the company, owned by Norwegian group Olsen Energy, would first seek voluntary redundancies and that unions including the GMB and Unite would try and minimise the impact on its members.

But Mr Mulholland stressed that anyone facing redundancy would also need government support.

“Our unions are seeking assurances from the DETI and DEL Ministers that they will mandate relevant agencies to put in place a package for those affected, perhaps involving upskilling, which will mean that these skilled workers are available for the company, as and when they expand their workforce with an improving order book”, he said.

Francess McDonnell

Francess McDonnell

Francess McDonnell is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in business