UNION leaders are seeking urgent talks with defence giant BAE Systems after news that the firm is planning to axe 3,000 jobs in a "hammer blow" to the industry.
Unite said it wanted to clarify which sites will be hit and would press for redundancies to be voluntary.
Ian Waddell, Unite’s national officer for aerospace, said: “These job losses will be a hammer blow to the UK defence industry.”
The facilities expected to be worst affected are BAE’s military aircraft division in Warton, Lancashire, and Brough, East Yorkshire.
Shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy said the news was “a devastating blow for Lancashire and Yorkshire and a real knock for UK manufacturing”, adding: “We need a fast response from ministers with a clear plan of action.
“At a time when it is so hard to find a new job this is a dreadful moment to lose the one you have.”
A BAE spokeswoman said: “BAE Systems has informed staff that we are reviewing our operations across various businesses to make sure the company is performing as effectively and efficiently as possible, both in delivering our commitments to existing customers and ensuring the company is best placed to secure future business
“As the outcome of this review becomes clear, we will, as always, communicate to our employees as a priority.”
Earlier this year BAE Systems said around 2,000 workers would leave voluntarily or move to other jobs in the company, but there will be 450 compulsory lay-offs in the UK.
The cuts were blamed on decisions such as the scrapping of the Nimrod and the accelerated retirement of the Harrier aircraft.
At this stage BAE’s operations in the North East and Cumbria look to be unaffected by the announcement.