BAE’s new division will ‘forge long-term future’
NW Evening Mail, Published at 13:10, Tuesday, 08 March 2011
A NEW maritime division of BAE, which has taken overall charge of shipbuilding, will “drive efficiency improvements”, say its bosses.
Maritime division managing director Alan Johnston said the shipyards in the group, including Barrow, Govan, Scotstoun and Portsmouth, are “stronger together.”
BAE Maritime came into operation in January – but BAE Submarine Solutions will continue as it is with its own managing director, John Hudson, as will the other groups involved, including BAE Surface Ships and Mission Systems.
Mr Johnston told the shipyard newspaper, Signature, that employees in the naval shipbuilding business “will not see changes on a day-to-day basis due to the formation of Maritime”.
He said: “It is important that everyone remains firmly focused on supporting their managing director to deliver existing performance commitments.”
Barrovian Mr Johnston once worked at Vickers but was latterly head of BAE’s Surface Ships group, which is building Type 45 destroyers and two aircraft carriers. He said: “We have tremendous breadth of knowledge and expertise across the Maritime enterprise and working together we can become stronger than our individual parts.”
Maritime was formed after the government pledged 15 years’ work for the yards in return for efficiency savings. It is now part of the BAE Programmes and Support Group. Managing director, Nigel Whitehead, said: “The primary role of the Maritime business is to deliver a coherent maritime strategy and to develop the business in the UK and internationally. The board will also drive efficiency improvements through Surface Ships’ Naval Terms of Business Agreement and the Submarine Enterprise Performance Programme, and continue to focus on maintaining and developing our key industrial capabilities.”
The Maritime board is looking to draw up and implement “robust plans to develop the group’s position in the UK and internationally”.
Mr Johnston said the division would “forge a sustainable, long-term future” for the industry and protect vital skills. He said he was driving a “relentless focus on growing the business internationally”.
The trades union secretary for manual workers at BAE in Barrow, Azza Samms, said the unions were closely following developments and had had a half-hour meeting with Mr Johnston.
Mr Samms did not believe the new structure would have much impact on manual workers in Barrow working on submarines. In the past, agreements have seen Barrow workers working in Scotland, and recently some manual employees from Barrow worked at the BAE shipyard in Portsmouth.
Mr Johnston said before Christmas that Maritime would have a pool of expertise that could be used around the sites to cover peaks and troughs on projects.