Union officials representing scores of Tyneside shipyard workers have met with bosses from A&P Tyne to negotiate the future of around 58 jobs.
Unite regional organisers said A&P Tyne has promised to release any agency and temporary staff before compulsory redundancies take effect.
The ship repair and conversion specialist said shedding jobs was necessary to secure the future of the Hebburn yard.
Workers and company seniors are now at the beginning of a 30 day consultation process.
Unite regional officer Dave Telford said: “At the first redundancy consultation meeting today (Wednesday, May 6) the proposed 54 redundancies were discussed and the trade unions expressed concern over the numbers of proposed redundancies and the viability of the business going forward.
“We have received assurance from the employer that all agency and temporary workers will be released before any compulsory redundancies take effect. We will, of course, continue to work to try and mitigate any compulsory redundancies.”
Yesterday a spokesperson for A&P Tyne said: “A&P Tyne has entered into a period of consultation during which it will review the number of people employed at its site in Hebburn.
“The reduction in workforce is part of a restructure at A&P Tyne that will enable the business to remain competitive in a challenging, global marketplace.
“A&P Tyne needs to respond to peaks and troughs in demand. Ship repair work is subject to fluctuation and the restructuring will ensure that staffing costs adjust to tally with fluctuating ship repair income, to secure the future viability of the yard.”