BAE to cut possibly more than 1,000 UK shipyard jobsBAE Systems' Govan shipyard will not be closed, BBC Political Editor Nick Robinson understands
BAE Systems is to cut potentially more than 1,000 jobs from three of its UK shipyards at Govan and Scotstoun in Glasgow and at Portsmouth.
The BBC has learned that major job losses at the yards will be announced by the company later this week.
Some of the jobs being lost may be offset by a contract to build the new Type 26 Global Combat Ship.
BAE Systems, however, has yet to announce which of its UK shipyards will be chosen to carry out the work.
BBC Political Editor Nick Robinson said the announcement by BAE Systems is expected on Thursday morning and will be followed later that day by a Commons statement from the defence secretary.
He understands that BAE's Govan shipyard will not close despite the fact that the possibility has been discussed behind the scenes in recent weeks.
He said a well-placed source had told him that the UK government was "acutely conscious of the politics of the Clyde" ahead of next year's referendum on Scottish independence.
The job losses, he said, will result from the completion of work on the building of two new aircraft carriers and from a huge increase in the costs of that project.
It emerged on Monday that the UK government is planning to announce that it will need to spend an extra £800m on the carriers, taking the total costs to more than £6bn - double the original estimate.
Beyond the carriers there are currently no new orders on the books of the BAE's Glasgow yards at Govan and Scotstoun.
Any job losses, however, may not take effect immediately because some work on the aircraft carriers is planned until 2015.'Significant tension'
There are currently 3,200 people employed by BAE across Govan and Scotstoun, and 1,200 employed in shipbuilding at Portsmouth.
The Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions said it would hold talks with senior BAE systems executives early next week to "examine the business case" of the forthcoming announcement on jobs.
General Secretary Hugh Scullion said: "Now is not the time for idle speculation or indeed party political point scoring, this is the future of an industry and we need to know from the company and the government directly what their plans for the future of UK shipbuilding are.
"The shipbuilding workforce throughout the UK are working flat out to deliver the aircraft carriers for the defence of the UK and they need to know what lies in store for them, their families and their communities."
Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney said he was "seeking urgent clarity on the future for both Govan and Scotstoun".
"We have been in dialogue for some time with BAE Systems on the issues surrounding the future of the Clyde shipyards," he said.
"We are awaiting the outcome of BAE's discussions with the Ministry of Defence, and are very alert to the situation concerning both yards."'Vital jobs'
Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont, whose Glasgow Pollok constituency includes the Govan yard, said: "Everything must be done to ensure shipbuilding on the Clyde continues.
"The UK government is the Clyde's biggest customer and I will be seeking urgent talks to make sure that continues.
"This will be a particularly worrying time for the workforce and their families but I will work with anyone to make sure we can keep these jobs.
"It's times like these that we all need to come together, put differences aside and fight to secure these vital jobs."
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, who is a Glasgow MSP, said: "The current speculation over shipyard jobs is unhelpful and destabilising to both the workforce and their families.
"BAE's shipbuilders on the Clyde are a highly professional, motivated and loyal workforce and they deserve clear answers from the company about their future."