Australia’s ASC announces further job cuts as AWD destroyer project wraps up

Australian shipbuilder ASC said it is cutting up to 63 jobs as work on the Royal Australian Navy’s Air Warfare Destroyers comes to a close.

ASC is currently in the process of delivering ‘Sydney’ – the final of three destroyers in the class and the company said it was reducing the shipbuilding workforce “to reflect operational demand and ensure the continued meeting of project budgets and schedules.”

Up to 63 permanent positions, including 56 production employees and a further seven salaried positions, will possibly be reduced, bringing the total number of jobs cut by the Adelaide-based shipbuilder to 372 in the past year.

“ASC Shipbuilding takes this action reluctantly and only following a rigorous process of identifying and filling redeployment opportunities to other areas in the ASC Group, including ASC’s submarine maintenance operations and the Offshore Patrol Vessel project, as well as with current and future ASC Shipbuilding project partners, where possible,” the company said in a statement.

Today’s announcement starts a minimum six-week consultation process with the Enterprise Agreement workforce, during which voluntary redundancy packages will be offered.

ASC anticipates that former shipbuilding employees will have the opportunity to return to the company as the Hunter-class frigate program starts prototyping in 2020. ASC Shipbuilding will act as a subsidiary of BAE Systems in the frigate program. ASC Shipbuilding further said it was working with BAE Systems to identify opportunities within their broader Australian workforce to help minimize the impact of these labor force reductions announced today.

Photo: Illustration: ASC photo of lead AWD destroyer HMAS Hobart at the Adelaide shipyard