UK-based Doosan Babcock announces job cuts, unions say cuts could have been avoided if firm expanded into bioenergy

UK engineering group Doosan Babcock has announced plans to cut 470 UK jobs, the majority of which will be in Scotland.

The company confirmed that 270 jobs were at risk at the company's base in Renfrewshire, Scotland, where 800 staff are currently employed.

They include 140 posts at its machining and assembly facility in Renfrew, along with 130 management and back-office support roles.

Doosan, which provides services to the energy, pharmaceutical and petrochemical sectors, said it foresaw a "long-term downturn in certain market sectors".

‘Changing market dynamics’

According to reports on the BBC, Doosan Babcock’s chief executive, Andrew Hunt, said: "Over the last year we have worked hard to rebalance the business, adapting to changing market dynamics and reacting to industry requirements for a low-carbon future.

"Unfortunately, we foresee long-term downturn in certain market sectors which mean the current position is unsustainable.

"It is with much regret that we now have to enter into the statutory consultation period on redundancies.

“The continued long-term growth of the business across the UK and in strategic international markets remains a priority.

"We have made significant progress in transforming and future-proofing the business but this will only prove successful if we also reduce our cost base in parallel."

Bioenergy potential

In a statement, UK engineering union GMB said the move was “another crushing blow” for British manufacturing which has already seen 385,500 jobs lost since 2007.

However, GMB said if the group had been given the chance to expand into the growing biomass energy sector, the latest cuts could have been avoided.

Phil Whitehurst, GMB National Officer, said: “What is so tragic about these job cuts is that Doosan Babcock have the capacity and specialist technology needed to forge a path in the heavily in demand energy-from-waste (EfW) and biomass power business in the UK.

“But the fact their investment team didn’t have the confidence to do so is down to a shocking disparity in the tendering process between UK and non-UK companies in the new build energy construction sector.”

“It’s a sad indictment that none UK companies are dominating the market, manufacturing key project components in smaller economies in Eastern Europe and then utilising and exploiting posted workers to construct them in the UK.”

"This in turn has resulted in an aggressive form of social dumping of the UK labour pool all in the name of huge profits.”

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