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Subject: ASC cuts 86 submarine jobs
Volkodav    6/26/2009 4:43:44 AM
VALERINA CHANGARATHIL June 26, 2009 12:45pm ADELAIDE-BASED submarine and shipbuilding company ASC has cut 86 jobs from its submarine workforce to reduce its maintenance costs. The company sacked 65 white and blue collar staff associated with ASC's Collins Class submarine through-life support program today, with 21 contractors also being released. ASC announced the job cuts as part of ``a drive to reduce maintenance costs and improve efficiencies''. Another 35 submarine staff will be transferred to ASC's shipbuilding business to meet the needs of the Air Warfare Destroyer program. ASC's submarine workforce now totals 950. Its AWD program has 300 staff currently with another 500 to be hired over the next four years. The reduction of employee numbers was regrettable, acting managing director and chief executive officer Graeme Bulmer said. "It is an unfortunate course of action to have to take and we are concerned for those affected and their families,'' he said. "We have provided generous redundancy packages to those employees, and also offered an outplacement support service to enhance their opportunity of obtaining further employment. "Wherever possible we have tried to relocate staff to our shipbuilding business, but unfortunately this has not been achievable in all cases.'' Mr Bulmer said the reduction in employee and contractor numbers would not compromise the safety of the Collins Class submarines and those who serve or work on them. ASC's restructure comes just as chairman John Prescott makes way for Vice Admiral Chris Ritchie on July 1. Former chief executive Greg Tunny resigned last month and a search for his replacement continues with Mr Bulmer as the acting chief in the interim. Fellow director Charles Bagot will also retire when his term expires at the end of June. On his appointment, Vice Admiral Ritchie had said ASC would continue to maintain and upgrade the Collins Class submarines and that it wanted to help the Government with its Future Submarine project. Earlier this year, the Federal Government deferred the proposed sale of ASC leading to a lot of disappointment among the board and executive group which had ``invested significant energy'' in preparing for the sale. _____________________________________________________________ Cutting jobs is a great way to to improve efficiency and reduce costs...not!
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Volkodav    Submarine builder trims 80 staff   6/27/2009 3:19:57 AM

Patrick Walters, National security editor | June 27, 2009

Article from:  The Australian

ADELAIDE-BASED submarine builder ASC has shed more than 80 permanent staff and contractors in a major restructuring aimed at boosting the efficiency of its submarine maintenance business.

ASC said yesterday that 65 white and blue collar staff associated with the Collins Class submarine through-life support program had had their employment terminated along with 21 contractors.

Another 35 staff now working on submarines are expected to transfer to ASC's shipbuilding business to work on the air-warfare destroyer (AWD) program.

The wholly government-owned ASC is in negotiations with the Defence Materiel Organisation over the terms of the $3billion long-term through-life support contract for the Collins submarines with the commonwealth keen to reduce its maintenance bill for the six vessels in service.

Acting managing director and chief executive officer Graeme Bulmer said the job cuts were regrettable.

"It is an unfortunate course of action to have to take and we are concerned for those affected and their families," he said.

"On behalf of the company I wish to thank those employees and contractors who have been directly affected by this restructure for their contribution."

Mr Bulmer said the company had provided generous redundancy packages and had tried to relocate staff to the AWD project.

The ASC submarine workforce has been reduced to 950.

ASC Shipbuilding, which is building the navy's new air warfare destroyer project workforce, will grow to around 500 personnel from its current 300-strong workforce over the next four years as construction work on the AWD accelerates.

Mr Bulmer said the reduction in employee and contractor numbers would in no way compromise the safety of the Collins Class submarines and those who served or worked on them.

ASC recently appointed retired navy admiral Chris Ritchie as its new chairman and is looking for a new CEO to replace Greg Tunny, who left the company two months ago.

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gf0012-aust       6/27/2009 5:13:59 AM
a bit of bad reporting there.  The Minister (prev)  advised all the Primes that they needed to reduce their costs footprint.
DMO has been advised to support small companies wherever possible, and there is an industry team that "watches" market impacts etc...

it's come from Govt - not from DMO 
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Volkodav       6/28/2009 12:23:05 AM
Yes that's why I am careful to use an all encompassing CoA instead of just DMO. The scary thing is that there are some uniform and civilian elements who have been lobbying for ASC's funding to be increased so they could take on more work that isn't necessarily being done all that well, or efficiently, by others at the moment. (Best of a bad lot?)
The biggest factor in the current situation appears to be the audit which was used to force Greg Tunny out. Had it been a genuine audit, rather than a political exercise with a (rumoured) pre scripted outcome, the ANAO would have been used instead of a private contractor. Then again Gumley must be very wary of letting the ANAO anywhere near any of DMO's projects as the findings always seem to be critical of DMO. Just find it hard to comprehend that the cost of this audit used to justify these cuts was equivalent to one quarter of ASC's 08-09 profit.
The facts as they stand; Gumley and Tunny disliked each other. The audit "exposing" ASC's "waste and inefficiencies" has not been shown to ASC and no corrective actions have been issued to ASC to aid them in identifying and addressing any "wasteful and inefficient practices, as you would have expected from a genuine audit. Greg Tunny fell on his sword to save the company he had worked so hard to prepare for sale, but none the less ASC had funding cut to the tune of several times their previous years profit i.e. by more than any genuine efficiency program could hope to save over 5 years, let alone one year. Many very experienced technical personnel, some of whom had been specifically head hunted or briber to return in recent years to compensate for the loss of talent in the post build slash and burn were among those made redundant on Friday. Some departments have been left with as few as one technically qualified person to train and mentor their non technical colleagues in engineering and para professional duties. Many others who appear secure in their roles are preparing to jump ship because they do not trust nor respect the CoA. There is a perception that ASC cares more for the welfare of the submariners than do their own senior officers or many defence civilians. Somehow, after all this, the CoA expects to achieve greater availability from the fleet and I bet they will continue to chop and change requirements on a whim forcing expensive, inefficient reworks right up to sail away while ASC is working out which projects they will no longer be able to complete or deliver.
End of the day this will cost money and increase delays as the work still needs to be done but now there are fewer experienced and qualified people to do it. Also I can't help but wonder how the CoA expects ASC to recruit and retain the people it needs / will need for upcoming projects now that , not only are the salaries uncompetitive, but they are unable to offer the security and training / professional development opportunities they used to use as selling points to candidates?
It was the RAN that had Westralia and the Seaking disaster not it not then slightly insane for the CoA to attempt to force ASC to adopt a "can do" attitude and to do more with less (cut corners). If you doubt what I am saying, just ask the RAAF what they think of the safety culture in the Army and RAN?
Final point, the reason TLS exists is that the CoA attempted to manage the support and maintenance of the new submarines but failed dismally. It was beyond their ability, capacity and competence which is why they handed the whole thing over to ASC. It is much easier to pay an expert to do a complex and difficult task than to do it yourself, but to sit back and criticize the expert while they are doing what you have proven you can't do yourself is beyond low. The CoA really stuffed this one up.
Rant over.
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