WORKERS at Rolls-Royce have announced that planned strike action will take place on Friday November 6 and continue for three weeks in opposition to proposed job cuts.

This comes after management announced plans to move production of Trent engine blades from the company’s Barnoldswick plant to Singapore at the cost of 350 local jobs.

In response, Unite union members voted by 94% to strike in opposition to the plans earlier this month.

Unite regional officer Ross Quinn said: “Unite has given Rolls-Royce every opportunity to change its plans, confirm there will be no more compulsory redundancies and guarantee the long-term future of Barnoldswick, but it has refused to do so.

“To offshore work and destroy the viability of this historic factory would be nothing short of industrial vandalism.

“As a consequence, and as a last resort, Unite has instructed its members to take targeted strike action in order to bring Rolls-Royce to the negotiating table."

The engine blades have been produced at the Barnoldswick factory since 1943 and since the plans were announced Rolls-Royce has met with opposition not only from union members but from the wider community with a petition calling on the company to reverse its plans attracting over 6,800 signatures.

Mr Quinn said: “Barnoldswick is the cradle of the jet engine and the workforce and the local community will not allow Rolls-Royce to destroy the viability of the site without a huge fight.”

The plans to move production and cut jobs have also been criticised by local Liberal Democrat peer Lord Tony Greaves, who called them “a catastrophe for high-tech manufacturing in the UK”, and by East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce chief executive Miranda Barker.

She said: “Action is needed now from our government, levelling up investment and support for the Civil Aerospace sector.

“Act now, don’t let this become the successor to the loss of the shipbuilding industry.

“We are global leaders in this field, help us to stay that way!”

The strike announcement comes at a time when Rolls-Royce is in the process of seeking to secure £5 billion in additional investment through a £2 billion rights issue, the issuing of £2 billion of bonds and £1 billion of support from the UK government.

Unite national officer Rhys McCarthy said: “It is simply unacceptable that Rolls-Royce is seeking to offshore the jobs of workers in the UK, while at the same time that it is going cap in hand to the UK government for £1 billion in financial support.

“There is still time before strike action begins for Rolls-Royce to reverse the decision to offshore jobs, or present alternative plans to ensure the Barnoldswick factory’s long-term future at similar employment levels. It is hoped it uses the next two weeks wisely.

“If Rolls-Royce is prepared to propose a viable future for Barnoldswick, then Unite will meet them at any time to resolve this dispute and secure a deal to preserve the jobs and the future of the factory.”

Strike action will begin on Friday November 6 at 6.30am and end on Friday November 27 at 7pm.