FERGUSON'S shipyard is being closed down for a week with immediate effect.

Boseses say they have temporarily closed their Port Glasgow yard and Greenock warehouse with immediate effect.

The Scottish Government-owned company says this is in response to increased Covid-19 infection rates in the Inverclyde area and concerns about the new variant of the virus.

The business has contacted all employees and trade unions to advise they have suspended production for one week to allow a 'comprehensive review of measures to ensure that the working environment at the yard continues to be as safe as possible'.

Production work will resume on Monday 18th January with briefings to advise employees of any changes to Covid-19 measures and to 'reinforce the need for personal responsibility in social distancing'.

Covid infection rates in Inverclyde have increased recently and the district has one of the highest seven-day rates of cases per 100,000 people in Scotland.

Tim Hair, Turnaround Director at Ferguson Marine, said: “Throughout the pandemic, Ferguson has complied with both the letter and spirit of government guidance and we have worked closely with trade union representatives to implement PPE and social distancing policies which protect workers.

"These include sanitising points, one-way systems, staggered shift and break times, additional break facilities, extensive use of screens, provision of anti-viral face coverings, toolbox talks to reinforce social distancing and other measures.

“Together, these measures have been effective, with only a single recorded case of in-yard transmission.

"As a result of the rapidly changing circumstances, it is however appropriate to review the measures currently in place, take stock of our learning since the restart of on-site work at the yard in June, and identify whether there are any additional ways to protect workers.

“We have advised production workers at both the Port Glasgow yard and Greenock warehouse they are not required to come to work this week and will be placed on special leave at full basic pay.

“Management and supervisors should come to work to support the review and any changes required.

“Most office-based employees are already working at home, but those who have been at the yard to support production have been asked to attend work as normal on Monday and, where possible, we will provide the resources to enable them work from home for the rest of the week.”