Defence giant BAE Systems has delivered a pre-Christmas jobs blow by announcing plans to axe around 1,300 posts.
The move, which followed the Government’s defence review and its decision to scrap the Nimrod and Harrier jets, was condemned by union leaders.
The job losses will hit a number of sites, including Samlesbury and Warton in Lancashire, Farnborough in Hampshire, Yeovil, RAF Cottesmore and RAF Kinloss. The company also revealed it would be consulting unions over potentially closing its Woodford site in Cheshire earlier than had been previously announced.
Kevin Taylor, managing director of BAE Systems Military Air Solutions, said: “Since the publication of the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) in October we have taken time to understand the implications for our business.
“We have recently received termination for customer convenience notices for the Nimrod MRA4 and Harrier contracts and this has regrettably led us to initiating consultation regarding potential job losses.
“The announcement is designed to ensure we remain competitive as we actively pursue a number of opportunities for our other products and services both in the UK and internationally.
“Military Air Solutions remains a sustainable business with a strong business plan. I appreciate this is difficult news for our people and we are committed to working with employees and their representatives to explore ways of mitigating the potential job losses.”
Bernie Hamilton, national officer of the Unite union, said: “This is a tragedy for the workforce and for Britain. The coalition Government’s Christmas present to over a thousand skilled workers who support Britain’s armed forces is the sack.”
BAE said in a statement: “Following a detailed review of the implications of the UK Government’s Strategic Defence and Security Review, and in particular the impact on the Harrier and Nimrod programmes where we have now received contract termination for customer convenience letters from the Ministry of Defence, BAE Systems has announced it has started consultation regarding potential job losses at six of its UK sites and two RAF bases.”
The potential job losses will be 79 at Chadderton, Greater Manchester, 214 at Farnborough, Hampshire, 55 at Prestwick in Ayrshire, 119 at Samlesbury, Lancashire, 668 at Warton, Lancashire, 15 at Yeovil, Somerset, 127 at RAF Cottesmore, Rutland, and 30 at RAF Kinloss, Moray. The total number of potential job losses announced was 1,397, the company said.