SHIPYARD unions will continue to monitor working conditions after around 1,800 employees returned to work.

Last month BAE Systems confirmed numbers at the Barrow site would rise to 1,800 by last Monday to ensure the submarine programmes continue.

The Confederation of Shipbuilding & Engineering Unions, which represents the Unite, GMB, Community and Prospect unions, has given an update to shipyard staff.

In a letter to union members, branch chairman Tim Griffiths said: “Both the Manual and Staff Convenors have had sight of the letter from the Ministry of Defence which clearly stated the critical areas of the business that the Government wanted the company to progress during this time.

“The company have pledged that they will only work on those areas and have produced numbers of employees in each area that they require to fulfil the work.

"Since then, our focus has been ensuring that the site is as safe as possible for the employees.

“The Unions, in conjunction with Regional Officials, Dan Gow (GMB) and Gail Bundy (Unite), have challenged the numbers, and in many areas these have been reduced.

“We have also discussed flexibilities such as shifts, staggered start, finish and break times and the phased return of employees.

“We will continue to review the measures put in place as the numbers on site gradually increase.”