Hard times continue to take a toll on BAE Systems workers, with 200 employees at the company’s Mobile, Ala., shipyard – half the facility’s workforce – notified this week they could be permanently laid off in the fourth quarter.
“Two hundred people will be notified they will be departing the business in October and November,” said Karl D. Johnson, director of communications platforms and services for BAE Systems Ship Repair. Those layoffs will be permanent, “if everything we see today holds true,” Johnson added.
Those separations would be the latest wave of job losses at BAE locations that began in late 2015, following 170 jobs cut at Norfolk, Va., and 30 at Jacksonville, Fla., in March. The Norfolk cutbacks were tied to fewer U.S. Navy contracts, while Jacksonville saw less Navy and commercial work.
In Mobile, the yard’s fortunes are closely tied to the offshore energy industry, and the sharp cutbacks by oil companies and offshore service providers are having the most impact.
“The yard does a great deal of business related to the offshore oil industry,” Johnson said. Located adjacent to the 42’ deep Mobile Bay ship channel, the facility also works on drilling rigs and semisubmersible platforms.
Job losses in Norfolk and Jacksonville were not as high as initial layoff notices there indicated – 265 Virginia workers had been notified, but moving some workers to other facilities helped reduce the final layoff tally to 170.
But BAE officials have said the layoffs had to be classified as permanent, based on the contracts in hand and prospects for future work.
“If there is something that changes, brings additional business in, we will reconsider the needs of the shipyard,” Johnson said.