Bath Iron Works (BIW) has announced the start of a temporarily layoff process for surveyors and trades inspectors.

The company said the process is being carried out in line with the Local S7 Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Workers were informed about the layoffs in a letter from BIW president Dirk Lesko.

The move comes at a time when the shipyard’s largest union is on strike.

BIW president Dirk Lesko said: “If the number of volunteers does not address the overstaffing in these functions, we will follow the contract and move to involuntary layoffs by seniority.

“While these layoffs are temporary in nature, their impact on employees and their families is real and immediate.

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“At a time when we are behind schedule, it is frustrating to be sending our employees home. However, the disruption of the strike leaves no other option.”

The company noted that more than 2,000 employees have been hired since 2018. It still requires at least 1,000 more to be hired this year.

BIW also said that General Dynamic and the US Navy are investing in its facilities and supply chain.

BIW is currently under contract to build 11 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers for the US Navy.

Lesko added: “We must continue to work diligently to gain back schedule so that we can keep our people at work. I know many of you are working hard to do just that and I appreciate your efforts.

“It also sends a welcome message to our navy customers that we take seriously our commitment to deliver their ships to them.”