THE publicly owned shipyard firm at the centre of the nation's ferry fiasco is considering redundancies - despite lack of manpower being highlighted by them as a key issue for delivery of one of two lifeline vessels.

It has been estimated that up to 100 jobs might be at risk at Ferguson Marine which is fighting to deliver two long-delayed lifeline ferry vessels Glen Sannox and Hull 802 that are over five years late with costs soaring.

Unions have not been consulted over any redundancies but it is believed that any workers affected may end up being support and office workers.

One source said he believed that any action would not take place until after key works on the vessels was complete with Glen Sannox ready to be considered for action.

It comes in the wake of continuing concerns over its financial future and despite lack of manpower being one of the key reasons given for massive delays in building one of CalMac's long-delayed ferries.

The latest progress update says that a "lack of manpower support" available is one of the main drivers behind the delays to the delivery of Hull 802.

Other reasons given were the availability of materials and challenges with "the delivery and completion of production drawings."

Ferguson Marine's latest analysis over the issues and challenges for completing Hull 802 was "manpower support" and "lack of manpower".

And they say that there was "good progress for the limited manpower available".

The analysis covering December said that "unit consolidation is challenging due to a lack of manpower".

He added: "The resource required to deliver on contracts fluctuates constantly.

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Ferguson Marine has not commented on the scale of any job cuts.

In response to the job cuts concerns, David Tydeman, chief executive of Ferguson Marine (Port Glasgow) said: “As with any shipyard, the resource required to deliver on contracts fluctuates constantly.

"We are currently considering a number of strategies to enhance the future commercial prospects of Ferguson Marine and to ensure the shipyard has the right mix of skills and capabilities among the whole workforce. At the right time, we will engage and consult with individuals, employee groups, unions, and wider stakeholders on the best way forward.”

One ferry user group official said any job cuts would raise serious concerns over the completion of the long-delayed ferries.

"If manpower is an issue for completing Hull 802, and it was previously cited in terms of Glen Sannox, then it beggars belief that we could be considering cuts," he said.

Scottish Conservative shadow transport minister Graham Simpson MSP said: “This is a devastating blow to workers who face redundancy through no fault of their own.

“We’ve repeatedly called on SNP ministers to set out a plan for the future of the yard as a viable business, because there is no major work in the pipeline beyond the completion of Glen Sannox and Hull 802. But they have failed to do so – and this is the shattering consequence of that.

“Throughout the SNP’s ferries scandal, ministers’ sole defence has been that they acted to save jobs at the yard, and now even that argument is collapsing.

“The reality is that blameless workers are suffering because of a lack of investment needed to turn the yard into a modern operation that can compete commercially for business.

“I will be demanding a ministerial statement next week on the latest twist in a never-ending scandal.”

Public finance watchdog Audit Scotland has said in April that questions remain over the long-term future of the yard despite attempts by new management.

Nationalised Ferguson Marine has previously responded to concerns over its status as a going concern by insisting there is a strong future for the business, despite its last annual financial review for 2021/22 admitting there was "significant doubt" over its ability to continue as a going concern over questions over future funding.

The board of directors went on to say that they are working with the Scottish Government to "continue to develop our strategy and processes to deliver a sustainable business model which will secure the long-term position of the company".

The Scottish Government in response to concerns said its priorities were to complete the ferries and secure the yard's future, while the deputy first minister said that ministers remained "committed to do all that we can" to help achieve a prosperous future for the yard.

Continued concerns over its future have come as it emerged a new round of bonuses were being made to Ferguson Marine directors - despite an ongoing furore over the failure to deliver two long-delayed ferries.

Ministers have confirmed that a new round of bonuses amounting to over £47,000 is being made to Ferguson Marine directors this year - despite the ongoing furore over the failure to deliver two long-delayed ferries.

READ MORE: Auditor concerns over shake-up of bonus culture at Ferguson Marine

Ministers say that further bonuses are legally required to be made for the year 2022/23 despite concerns over £87,000 paid to executives at the ferry fiasco firm in 2021/22.

This brings the total level of bonuses due to be paid out over two years to £134,218.

The first of two instalments of £23,609 has already been processed and was made in Ferguson Marine's April 2023 payroll with the second payment of £23,609 due in June, subject to ongoing discussions involving the board chairman Andrew Miller.

Ms Robison says that they were the result of the "legacy contractual commitments" made in November, 2022 "without the prior knowledge of the Scottish Government" and were "legally required".

But the First Minister Humza Yousaf has said there should be no bonuses paid in this financial year to bosses at Ferguson Marine.