UK builder in row with trade union over layoffs deemed essential

On the day that Princess Yachts sent out a story about its success through 2019 and that it had doubled the number of apprentices it had appointed, a row with the UK trade union Unite has arisen over the fact that around 100 people are to be laid off.

A company spokesman told IBI: “We are at loggerheads with the Unite union. They called us at 2.52pm to tell us that they were issuing a release about 100 people being laid off and that it was going live at 3pm. We have three issues with Unite which are that they describe the 100 jobs as redundancies; the short time they gave us to respond; and they describe our appraisal process as shoddy.”

The spokesman explained to IBI that the jobs were part of an annual appraisal process that has been going on for five years. Everyone at all levels – from the directors through office staff and shipyard workers – have an annual appraisal.

The spokesman said: “The information is totally incorrect. They are not redundancies. We have an annual appraisal process which involves a 12-month probation period and it is essential to maintaining the quality of the yachts we produce. Some of the workers do not pass through the appraisal. In 2017 we lost 138 and last year 198 as a result of the appraisal. None of those going are apprentices.

“Since January this year we have appointed 342 new people. Over the last three years we have risen from 1,800 staff to around 3,000. The latter is the number we need to maintain our production and the quality that we require.”