Harland & Wolff announce job losses

60 members of staff will be laid off in Belfast...

Harland & Wolff is cutting 60 jobs in a move that will almost cut their staff numbers in half.

The company is hoping that the redundacies will be voluntary with union discussions are set to begin imminently.

The legendary shipbuilder, responsible for the construction of the Titanic among other fabled vessels, revamped its business back in 2003 and now specialises in ship and oil rig repair, marine engineering and industrial design.

Despite this, it has seen its order books sharply decline in recent years as the entire sector attempts to work through a crisis.

Its workforce currently is under 200, although it works frequently with hundreds of contractors.

Michael Mulholland, spokesperson for the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering, has said:

"The announcement by Harland and Wolff management that they will be seeking up to 60 redundancies reflects the recent decline in the company's order books.

"This is the latest bad news story for manufacturing in Belfast and Northern Ireland and follows hot on the heels of a large-scale redundancy announcement at Bombardier. It reflects the continuing crisis in the sector".

Earlier this week, it was announced that Harland & Wolff's former headquarters in Belfast's Titanic Quarter will be reimagined as an 84-bedroom boutique hotel and public heritage space.