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!