Business leaders say 5,600 at risk over Lancashire BAE job cuts

Lancashire Telegraph: PLANE The Eurofighter Typhoon – one of BAE’s most important contracts PLANE The Eurofighter Typhoon – one of BAE’s most important contracts

BUSINESS leaders reeling from the loss of 1,400 aerospace jobs have warned a further 5,600 people could be thrown out of work as a direct result.

Union bosses said workers were ‘numb with anger’ at the job losses at BAE Systems Lancashire plants, which were ‘of a magnitude that was never envisaged’.

And Graham Jones, Hyndburn MP, said it was ‘the blackest day for Lancashire in a long, long time’.

Now regeneration leaders have called on the Government to help axed workers by ‘thinkin g again’ over their decision to throw out plans for a new Enterprise Zone to be based around the BAE sites.

Yesterday defence giant BAE announced a total of almost 3,000 redundancies across the country. It was confirmed that there will be 565 redundancies at Samlesbury and 843 at Warton, as well as 900 at Brough, East Yorkshire.

The company, the largest private employer in the area, said the move was ‘in response to changes in key programmes’ and needed to ‘maintain competitiveness’.

But unions and business chiefs warned that the importance of BAE in East Lancashire could mean that for every job lost the knock-on effect could see an additional four or five lost in supplier firms and the wider community because of lost spending power.

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The official announcement came after news of the job losses leaked out over the weekend.

Mr Jones said: “There are up to 7,000 people who are now facing the dole queue. It is going to be a miserable time for so many workers, both at BAE and at those companies that rely so much on the success of BAE.”

Martin Wright, chief executive of the Northwest Aerospace Alliance, said: “The loss of these jobs will be devastating for the families involved and will significantly impact the wealth of the region.

“These advanced engineering jobs create real value through research and development and manufacturing technologies. Yesterday’s news would seem to be a step backwards for the rebalancing of the UK economy towards high technology and advanced manufacturing.”

Dennis Mendoros, chairman of Regenerate Pennine Lancashire, and managing director of Barnoldswick aerospace supply company Euravia, said the loss could have a ‘massive impact’ on the area.

Mr Mendoros said he wanted the enterprise zone needed to be reassessed.

The new zones aim to support highly-skilled start-up firms and business leaders said it would be an ideal response to the job loss blow.

In August the Lancashire Economic Partnership, supported by local councils, failed in its bid for a Lancashire enterprise zone, which could have created thousands of jobs.

The zone, which will benefit from tax breaks, relaxed planning regulations and high-speed internet links, aim to encourage high-tech new businesses.

He said: “The jobs announcement is a terrible blow but we need to formulate a plan to move forward.

“Enterprise zones are about attracting highly skilled workers with new and exciting companies and it could be a way of protecting the area and supporting and keeping them in the county.

“We need to do something urgently because this is a very challenging period. The losses will have a long-term affect on the supply chain - for every one BAE job, there are four other jobs in this area directly affected - so you can see what a massive impact this will have.

“BAE supports so many other businesses, both big and small. Contractors, transport, hotels and of course other aerospace firms.”

Phil Entwistle, Unison organiser at Samlesbury, said: “The level of jobs losses is at a magnitude that we never envisaged.

“To say I am devastated and lost for words is an understatement. It is hard to take stock. I think the best way to sum up the feeling among workers is that they are numb with anger.

“But the anger will turn to fear.

“Everyone now feels vulnerable. We have just been told numbers of redundancies but not which departments they will affect.

“We are now going to work tirelessly with our colleagues at Warton to mitigate as many job losses as possible.”

He said all of the 4,000 workforce that were on shift yesterday morning at Samlesbury were gathered into four groups at 10am to be briefed by a senior department heads on the announcement.

A consultation has now been launched which will run until December 26.

He said the Government’s defence cuts were to blame for the job losses as orders for the Eurofighter Typhoon combat jet slowdown.

He said the effect of the job losses will be felt throughout Lancashire because of the hundreds of firms that rely on the company as suppliers.

Mr Entwistle said: “It will have a major effect on the economy in Lancashire. For every one job loss at Samlesbury and Warton there could be four or five jobs lost elsewhere.

”These are highly skilled well-paid jobs too that are being lost and these people could now be forced to move out of the county, which will be a further blow to the area.

“The damage to Lancashire this decision will make will be tremendous.”

BAE said yesterday that jobs would be lost at 10 other locations as well as at RAF bases and abroad.

Ian King, BAE chief executive, said: “Our customers are facing huge pressures on their defence budgets and affordability has become an increasing priority. Our business needs to rise to this challenge to maintain its competitiveness and ensure its long term future.

“The proposals announced aim to put the business into the right shape to address the challenges we face now and in the future and ensure we are in the best possible position to win future business.

This transformation process is not going to be easy. We understand that this is a time of uncertainty for our employees and we are committed to working with them and their representatives to explore ways of mitigating the potential job losses.”

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “This news from BAE Systems will be a serious knock to the individuals and communities affected.

"Last year I set up the Skills and Jobs Retention Group to help skilled workers find new jobs in UK manufacturing. The Group will ensure that the shortage of engineers in UK manufacturing is not exacerbated by the loss of talented people from companies like BAE Systems.

"The Group has set up a new national web based system to make it easier for companies to recruit skilled workers who have been made redundant and the JobCentre Plus Rapid Response Service is also on hand to provide a range of support measures."

PANEL A 45-year-old Samlesbury shop floor worker, who did not wish top be named, said there was “numbness and fear” among workers at the site in the hours after the announcement.

He said: “It looks like one in four workers at both here at Warton will be gone.

“People are shocked and dismayed, like a lot of people they were worried about mortgages and prices going up and now this.

“I fear it will lead to more stress and people going on the sick.

“I believe much will be done by the unions to lobby support and I’m sure all the workers will be closely watching the level of support by their MPs and holding them to account at the next election.

“What has also annoyed people is the way this came out. It seems every time the company has an announcement like this it’s leaked in the press.

“A lot of us are angry that accurate reports about the number of job losses were seen first in the Sunday papers.”

Comments (4)

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4:22pm Wed 28 Sep 11

ROBERTSLUMDWELLER123 says...

will workers who have too relocate for employment be given second homes allowance from the government as do the useless mp's who say they represent the people of this country?????????
will workers who have too relocate for employment be given second homes allowance from the government as do the useless mp's who say they represent the people of this country????????? ROBERTSLUMDWELLER123

5:14pm Wed 28 Sep 11

AIRCRAFT FITTER says...

I’m the 4th generation of my family to be employed by what is evolving into nothing less than a joke of a company. Its clearly not the fault of either BAE SYSTEMS or the current or last government for the world recession that we find ourselves in. I found myself in agreement when listening to a director stand on a podium and deliver us news of a need to streamline the business to keep us competitive in a difficult world market. I then returned to my hanger only to discover the companies idea of streamlining was decimate once again our already fast diminishing highly skilled manual workforce in favour of keeping jobs for a totally overpopulated inefficient overpaid and in many cases incompetent management team. In my department alone we already have a manager for every three of us and below that team leaders and supervisors.
Its quite clear the company has no intention of maintaining our manufacturing capability in this country in favour of a zoo full of suit wearing nodding bottom licking chimpanzees that soon will be wondering round empty hangers looking for an aeroplane to build and a workforce to manage, asking themselves were it all went wrong? So a big thank you to our Senior Management for destroying a company that was once the pride of our nation, that MY family were very proud to have worked and contributed to its success.
I’m the 4th generation of my family to be employed by what is evolving into nothing less than a joke of a company. Its clearly not the fault of either BAE SYSTEMS or the current or last government for the world recession that we find ourselves in. I found myself in agreement when listening to a director stand on a podium and deliver us news of a need to streamline the business to keep us competitive in a difficult world market. I then returned to my hanger only to discover the companies idea of streamlining was decimate once again our already fast diminishing highly skilled manual workforce in favour of keeping jobs for a totally overpopulated inefficient overpaid and in many cases incompetent management team. In my department alone we already have a manager for every three of us and below that team leaders and supervisors. Its quite clear the company has no intention of maintaining our manufacturing capability in this country in favour of a zoo full of suit wearing nodding bottom licking chimpanzees that soon will be wondering round empty hangers looking for an aeroplane to build and a workforce to manage, asking themselves were it all went wrong? So a big thank you to our Senior Management for destroying a company that was once the pride of our nation, that MY family were very proud to have worked and contributed to its success. AIRCRAFT FITTER

1:23pm Fri 30 Sep 11

western says...

Aircraft Fitter: You couldn't be anymore right.
I also find it's got to a stage where to sack an incompetent dribbler is so difficult, with not to mention getting sued for unlawful dismissal, that its easier just to send them onto another department. (In the maze that is BAE).
Things need to change.. perhaps this is one step in the right direction though?
Aircraft Fitter: You couldn't be anymore right. I also find it's got to a stage where to sack an incompetent dribbler is so difficult, with not to mention getting sued for unlawful dismissal, that its easier just to send them onto another department. (In the maze that is BAE). Things need to change.. perhaps this is one step in the right direction though? western

1:23pm Fri 30 Sep 11

Plasticbertrand says...

In the past I have been a supplier to BAe systems and I have to agree with the comments made by 'Aircraft Fitter' above. The company appears to be upside down with more project managers than people actually creating products. I was surprised by the amount of people openly reading newspapers and looking un-industrious on my tours of the facility. As an outsider the Samlebury's site appeared to be full of people constantly moving around going from meeting to meeting. What also surprised me was the level of construction going on at the site, when the World markets crashed and America's debt crisis became apparent. All this work was based on the construction of parts of the JSF, when anyone with a modicum of business sense should have realised that this contract could easily be withdrawn, if America decided to manufacture these sections at home to curb unemployment..

I know someone who joined them a few years ago from a private engineering company and he was surprised that every time he gave an estimate for a particular job, his line manager would add a couple of hours to the time sheets for overtime payments. I also heard that a night-shift worker was caught wearing his pajamas and sleeping on a lilo in an office by the security staff. With this level of dedication to work it is no wonder that BAe's products are so expensive.

In the 1990's BAe allowed a large number of staff to take early retirement on final salary pension schemes, then re-employed them as contractors, effectively costing the company substantially more for the same amount of output.

The truth of the matter is that anyone who has been made redundant from the management side at BAe, should look towards the public sector for you next job, as I doubt you have the skills for a privately owned company, that keeps a keen eye on costs.
In the past I have been a supplier to BAe systems and I have to agree with the comments made by 'Aircraft Fitter' above. The company appears to be upside down with more project managers than people actually creating products. I was surprised by the amount of people openly reading newspapers and looking un-industrious on my tours of the facility. As an outsider the Samlebury's site appeared to be full of people constantly moving around going from meeting to meeting. What also surprised me was the level of construction going on at the site, when the World markets crashed and America's debt crisis became apparent. All this work was based on the construction of parts of the JSF, when anyone with a modicum of business sense should have realised that this contract could easily be withdrawn, if America decided to manufacture these sections at home to curb unemployment.. I know someone who joined them a few years ago from a private engineering company and he was surprised that every time he gave an estimate for a particular job, his line manager would add a couple of hours to the time sheets for overtime payments. I also heard that a night-shift worker was caught wearing his pajamas and sleeping on a lilo in an office by the security staff. With this level of dedication to work it is no wonder that BAe's products are so expensive. In the 1990's BAe allowed a large number of staff to take early retirement on final salary pension schemes, then re-employed them as contractors, effectively costing the company substantially more for the same amount of output. The truth of the matter is that anyone who has been made redundant from the management side at BAe, should look towards the public sector for you next job, as I doubt you have the skills for a privately owned company, that keeps a keen eye on costs. Plasticbertrand

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