DEFENCE giant BAE Systems has confirmed it is due to put a halt to manufacturing at its Brough plant in Yorkshire, in a move that will lead to 750 compulsory redundancies.
The firm said it had found “no viable and practical alternative” to the closure, although the site will still be used for structural and dynamic testing and engineering support.
This will leave around 400 people still on site. Unions described the decision as a “disgraceful dereliction of duty to a world-class workforce”.
BAE is in the midst of a large-scale reduction in its staff numbers, after announcing it would be cutting 3,000 jobs last year.
It argued it has mitigated over 1,000 of these jobs through deployment or voluntary redundancy.
The company said yesterday that it had told employees it had concluded its consultation process to end manufacturing on-site.
It said: “This is due to no viable and practical alternative being found despite the extensive and meaningful consultation that has taken place with the trade unions and executive representatives.
“The company, during the next stage of consultation, will continue to focus on reducing the number of redundancies and, as far as possible, explore all opportunities to mitigate the potential job losses.”
The company has made 22,000 cuts to its workforce of 107,000 over the last three years.
It has reduced its North East numbers by 300 to around 700, and there are still question marks over whether jobs will go at its Scotswood Road factory in Newcastle after its current contract is completed at the end of next year.
It has said it expects little sales growth in 2012, and that its order book has shrunk by 8% to £36.2bn.
Unite national officer Ian Waddell warned the move to end manufacturing in Brough was unnecessary, and would mean the “loss of vital manufacturing capabilities and skills”.
“The closure of Brough will have a devastating impact on the local economy.
“The area is already an unemployment blackspot and today’s announcement makes the situation significantly worse.
“Unfortunately because of weak employment laws, we are fighting to save manufacturing skills and jobs at BAE Systems with one hand tied behind our backs. The UK’s lax interpretation of EU rules on consulting workers on restructuring means employers can get away with taking short-term decisions which affect jobs and skills in the long term.
“The latest manufacturing figures showing weaker-than-expected growth highlight just how tough things are for manufacturing workers. We are going to continue to fight for UK manufacturing and we expect the Government to demand that BAE Systems thinks again.”