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BAE Systems confirms 750 job losses for Lancashire sites

Photo: PA Images

BAE Systems is planning to cut almost 2,000 jobs in its military, maritime and intelligence services under moves to streamline its business and have a "sharper" competitive edge, the defence giant has announced.

Seven hundred and fifty of the jobs will be cut at the firm's Lancashire sites in Warton and Samlesbury where the Typhoon fighter jet is built.

A total 1915 jobs will be cut across the country at Brough, in East Yorkshire, and at RAF bases in Marham, Norfolk, and Leeming in North Yorkshire.

Four hundred and ninety jobs will be cut in the south of England plus 30 at other UK locations.

Chief executive Charles Woodburn said: "The organisational changes we are announcing today accelerate our evolution to a more streamlined, de-layered organisation, with a sharper competitive edge and a renewed focus on technology.

"These actions will further strengthen our company as we deliver our strategy in a changing environment."

BAE is facing an order gap for the Typhoon so production is being slowed ahead of an expected order from Qatar.

Production of the Hawk jet aircraft is ending in the next few years, affecting the Brough site, although Qatar could place a new order which would keep production going until 2010.

Most of the military air job cuts will go in 2018 and 2019, with some planned for 2020 and BAE said its goal is to achieve as many voluntary redundancies as possible.

Meanwhile the Unite union has vowed to fight for every job at the firm. It slammed the proposed job cuts as a 'betrayal' of a local workforce saying the decision is 'devastatingly short sighted'.

The union has warned the move would harm UK manufacturing and deprive communities across the country of well paid jobs into the future.

It has called on the government to take back control of defence and invest UK taxes in British made equipment. The union estimates 25% of the UK's defence spend will be benefiting US factories and companies by 2020.

Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said:

These planned job cuts will not only undermine Britain’s sovereign defence capability, but devastate communities across the UK who rely on these skilled jobs and the hope of a decent future they give to future generations.

“Unite will not stand by and allow the defence of our nation to be outsourced abroad. These devastatingly short sighted cuts will harm communities, jobs and skills. Unite will fight for every job and support every community under threat in both BAE's aerospace and marine divisions.

“These are world class workers with years of training and expertise on which an additional four jobs rely upon in the supply chain.

“The UK government must take back control of our nation’s defence and with it, play its part in supporting UK defence manufacturing jobs. Too much taxpayers' money earmarked for defence spending is going to factories overseas. By 2020, 25 pence of every pound spent on UK defence spending will find its way to American factories alone rather than being spent here in the UK.

“This state of affairs is not only hollowing out Britain's sovereign defence capability and British manufacturing, but leaving the nation's defence exposed to the whim of foreign powers and corporate interests.

“The British government can and should do more to defend UK defence jobs by investing in Britain and committing that long term projects, such as the next generation jet fighter, future support vessels and Type 31e frigate are built here in the UK.

“A failure to do so and take back control of our own defence needs will be a complete betrayal of the government’s primary responsibility to defend our nation and destroy decent jobs, skills and the communities that support them in the process."

– Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner

We spoke to Mark Allen, Unite's professional staff chairman at BAE systems who said they need Government support:

The North West Aerospace Alliance (NWAA) say they are "saddened" to learn of the job cuts in Lancashire:

BAE Systems has a unique value to the NorthWest of England as a major contributor to our economic prosperity and plays a vitalrole in our national security. This announcement today is deeply disappointingfor BAE Systems employees and their families. The North West Aerospace Alliancewill provide whatever support we can to help these highly skilled individuals intonew jobs within the wider aerospace sector through support programmes such asthe Talent Retention Scheme.

– The North West Aerospace Alliance

Dr David Bailey, Chief Executive of the NorthWest Aerospace Alliance

We understand that the Warton andSamlesbury job losses relate largely to the continued slowdown in production ofthe Eurofighter Typhoon fighter aircraft. Even though BAE SYSTEMS announcedlast month that it had secured an order for 24 of the Eurofighter Typhoonfighter aircraft from Qatar, we understand that it is often difficult topredict the timing and delivery of these complex defence deals. BAE Systems isa vital component of the regional economy and today’s announcement is designedto ensure they remain competitive in challenging global market conditions. However, it should be noted that the NorthWest of England’s aerospace sector is still one of the largest and most capablein the world generating over £8 Billion in turnover and directly employing over26,000 highly skilled workers. With the civil aerospace industry forecast togrow by 4.4% per year for the next 20 years, requiring the manufacture of over35,000 new aircraft worth over $5.3 Trillion, there will be many new opportunitiesin the future for the region to grow this important sector.”

– Dr David Bailey, Chief Executive of the North West Aerospace Alliance