Babcock International Group and Prospect, a union for professionals, have run up the Battle Ensign as both parties intend lobbying the Ministry of Defence (MOD) at the eleventh hour for two lucrative Royal Navy contracts which the A&P Group are also bidding for.

Despite having had ten years work building Britain’s two new super aircraft carriers HM ships Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales work is now drying up with Babcock faced with making 250 redundancies.

A spokesperson for the MOD said: "The MOD spent £1.7bn with Babcock last year, and their Rosyth yard has played the instrumental role of assembling the nation's two new aircraft carriers.

"The company has taken this decision as a result of internal restructuring and have said they are working to offer new opportunities to as many employees as possible.

"It is clearly a concerning time for their workers and the government stands ready to support those affected."

The contracts in question which A&P and Babcock wish to win are to re-engine the Royal Navy hydrographic vessel HMS Scott, currently alongside in Devonport along with the re-engining of the six Type 45 Daring Class destroyers which have suffered serious mechanical breakdowns since coming into service.

It is understood that the MOD is expected to confirm imminently which yard has won the £280 million Type 45 contract.

A&P Group managing director Mr. David McGinley said: “A&P Group are a respected supplier to the Ministry of Defence, The Royal Fleet Auxiliary and the Royal Navy all of whom we have served for many years. We are bidding a number of opportunities currently and will bid competitively for each. We look forward to maintaining our relationships with our defence partners long into the future.”

Prospect claim that the MOD wishes the HMS Scott contract to be “carried out at Devonport or Falmouth on the basis of the crew’s choice not to have to travel to Rosyth, despite the fact that it’s likely the work would be completed quicker in Rosyth than on the south coast.”

A&P has the expertise in Falmouth to carry out the work on HMS Scott. The 131 metre long vessel that is 22 years old can easily be accommodated in the number three dry-dock leaving the Queen Elizabeth dock free for larger RFA and commercial ships.

Babcock, who operate the Rosyth and Devonport dockyards, has indicated that it is prepared to move the overhaul work on HMS Scott, the Royal Navy’s only ocean survey vessel, from Devonport, which has a comparatively full order book, to Rosyth.

Richard Hardy, Prospect’s national secretary for Scotland said: “On behalf of those members facing a bleak Christmas at the risk of redundancy, Prospect is more than disappointed at this decision by the MoD, which seems to be based on crew convenience rather than any sensible economic or workload metrics.

Any work coming into Rosyth will help stave off job losses. HMS Scott will help, but the award of the Type 45 contract is a vital piece of the jigsaw in offsetting redundancies and securing the future of the yard,” said Hardy.

We’re working positively with the senior team at Babcock and we will now start to lobby on this issue with our contacts in MoD, in Westminster and at Holyrood.” he said.

Falmouth is the headquarters of the newly formed A&P Group Defence division. With many top level Ministry of Defence (MoD) contracts in the pipeline the Group is further strengthening its relationship with the MoD at a time when the government has announced that it is to spend over £63 billion in the next decade on the procurement and support of surface ships and submarines. Gerald Pitts is the Managing Director of A&P Group Defence.

Later next year the MOD will announce which yards have been successful in winning parts of the 10 year, £900 million pound “Future In Service Support” (FISS) contract to refit and repair ships of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.

The FISS contract will run from June 2018 until 2028. The MOD preamble to the contract states: “The support activities will include but are not limited to: planning for and execution of global repair and maintenance; operational defect rectification; obsolescence management; surface coatings and furnishings; risk management and design services; to pre-determined availability requirements; supported by an on-site joint MOD / industry team.”

A&P already fly teams around the world to oversee repairs on RFA ships stationed in the Gulf, Caribbean and other locations.