BAE to close Newcastle factory

More than 330 jobs could be lost after defence firm BAE Systems announced plans to close its factory in Newcastle.

The company, which is currently making Terrier army vehicles, will close the site at the end of 2013.

Around 100 jobs are also expected to go at BAE's Washington plant.

Tank
Tank built by BAE Systems Credit: ITV

The announcement was made this morning after staff were informed there was no prospect of the company obtaining manufacturing work beyond the end of its current Terrier contract.

BAE bosses said the proposals are now under consultation. David Bond, Managing Director for Global Compact Systems Vehicles, said: "There's been uncertainty around the site for a number of years. I think most people are actually relieved now we have a certain outcome.

"We're looking to close the site at the end of 2013. That gives us time to manage a run-down of the facility, but it also gives time for our employees to think about their futures and find alternative work."

Michael Blench, from the GMB Trade Union, said: "It wasn't a shock as such. I think we knew it was coming from maybe a year or so because of the way the workforce has been run down over a period of time. But obviously it still has a great impact on the people who are working there."

"I don't think BAE Systems management had a will to put any more work into this plant.

"There's been a number of contracts awarded to different company's, and I don't think the will has been there to put them on Tyneside."

The Newcastle factory has been a defence manufacturing site since 1847, and has made tanks since before First World War.