Unions have said they are shocked by the extent of jobs losses at Rosyth dockyard.
It was announced on Tuesday 250 jobs are to be axed with staff at Babcock International Group told it is to shed 146 back office and support posts and 104 blue collar posts.
While cuts were expected among office and support staff, Unite Scotland said news of redundancies among blue collar workers, which it represents, came as a shock.
It claimed that Babcock was short of workers for an on-going ferry refit and was likely to win new contracts it had bid for.
Regional officer Bob McGregor said workers could not believe what they were hearing when the news was broken.
He said: “They are struggling to man the ferry refit and they are announcing redundancies.
“It doesn’t make sense to the workforce.
“We were aware there was a down-manning coming among the office staff but didn’t see it coming for the blue collar workers.
“They are saying they have empty order books but they have tenders in for many, many contracts and they will get some of them.
“If they get any further work they will need the workforce they have.”
He also said Unite would fight to stave off compulsory redundancies among permanent workers.
He said: “We are clear there should be no compulsory redundancies.
“There is a high number of agency workers at the site at the moment and we will be looking to mitigate the losses by asking them to down-man with the agencies.”
Mr McGregor confirmed that pay negotiations were a stage away from industrial action and added: “It could be good timing by the company.”
Prospect said the news was concerning but not wholly unsurprising for its members.
Richard Hardy, Scotland national secretary, said: “We’ve known for some time that an announcement was likely and we welcome Babcock’s commitment to work with the trade unions on addressing the workload issues.
“As a bottom line we want to ensure that people who want to stay at Rosyth stay, and that Babcock protects its highly-skilled permanent workforce.”
He said the rundown of work on the aircraft carriers highlighted the need for the UK government to decide soon on the next generation of surface warships for the Royal Navy.
“These workers are key to the future of the UK’s defence shipbuilding programme,” he said, “and we really need the Ministry of Defence to step up to the plate and start the procurement process for both refitting work for the Type 45 destroyers and the new Type 31e frigates.”