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Business Secretary: 'This a very worrying time for the dedicated and talented employees'

Business Secretary Greg Clark has said the Government will work with Rolls-Royce to make sure the "interests of the workforce are strongly represented".

The company around 4,600 jobs will be axed in their latest round of restructuring. 1,000 of those will be at the Rolls-Royce's headquarters in Derby.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Clark said:

It's obvious that this news will come as a blow to the workforce and that this is a very worrying time for the dedicated and talented employees who've done nothing to bring this on themselves, but who will be affected.

– Greg Clark MP, Business Secretary
1,000 job cuts will be at the Rolls-Royce headquarters in Derby. Credit: PA

Shadow business minister Gill Furniss said the announcement was "deeply disturbing news" and called on Mr Clark to implement "a reinvigorated local industrial strategy".

Mr Clark responded, saying he was working very close with the local enterprise partnership to ensure that "opportunities that exist in Derby and the West Midlands are taken up".

Speaking earlier in the question session he said:

Rolls-Royce has told me the announcement does not reflect a reduction in growth by the company indeed the reverse, Rolls-Royce has a growing order book of over £170bn and Mr East told me (the company) will need more staff directly employed on both the manufacture of components and assembly to meet that demand.

The company has told me that it will continue to recruit engineers, technicians and apprentices.

– Greg Clark MP, Business Secretary
An assembly line at the Rolls-Royce headquarters in Derby. Credit: PA

Labour MP Chris Williamson, whose Derby North constituents will likely be affected by the cuts, said the move represented a "failure of shareholder capitalism".

When I left school in Derby in 1972 Rolls-Royce employed around 35,00 people, today it's just under 12,000, if these job losses go ahead the workforce will reduce to around 8,000.

Isn't it time that we saw the Government legislating to have workers on the boards of companies so there is somebody there to represent the interests of the workforce because at the moment we're seeing an expanding company, expanding order books and yet the workforce is diminishing.

Isn't this a failure of shareholder capitalism which basically sacrifices jobs on the altar of higher shareholder dividends?

– Chris Williamson MP, Derby North MP

Mr Clark responded, saying he would make sure that the "interests of the workforce are strongly represented", but added: "In terms of his overall statement on what he said about efficiency and companies, I think he should just reflect his desire to overthrow capitalism will make it very hard for anyone to find work in any private company at any time."

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