Strikes and COVID-19 disruptions will keep Bath Iron Works behind schedule

Following the news that Bath Iron Works’ (BIW) worker union voted strikes;

Nurettin Sevi, Aerospace and Defense Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view on the situation;

“Strikes at BIW are a threat to the US Navy’s plan to reach 355 active ships by 2034, the minimum planned output level of two Arleigh Burke class destroyers per year leaving little room of manoeuver. The company had already fallen several months behind schedule, even before the strikes, partly because of the COVID-19 outbreak that disrupted the supply chain and imposed tough health and safety precautions from the company.

“There are seven destroyers, including six Arleigh Burke and one Zumwalt, under construction plus 11 destroyers in the backlog for the shipyard. The hurdles of the COVID-19 pandemic combined with further delays brought by the strikes could cause more work interruption and postpone the 355 ships target two to three years depending of severity of the hurdles. The danger for the US will be to lag behind China, defined as a strategic competitor in the National Defense Strategy, in the great naval power competition.

“Two third of BIW’s staff voted in favor of the strike as they rejected the conditions of a three-year renewal contract. This indicates that there is significant discontent in the company and the strike could undermine BIW’s businesses as it plans to compete for future contracts with the US Navy and Coastguard such as Heritage Class Offshore Patrol Cutter.”

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