UK gov­ern­ment urged to in­ter­vene over jobs threat at de­fence firm

Belfast Telegraph - Business Telegraph - - NI Job Finder - BY ALAN JONES

THE UK gov­ern­ment is be­ing urged to help save jobs at de­fence gi­ant BAE Sys­tems, which is set to an­nounce cuts at sites in Eng­land mak­ing the Eurofighter Typhoon jet.

Labour de­scribed the news as “dev­as­tat­ing”, while unions were seek­ing in­for­ma­tion, hav­ing been braced for cuts be­cause of a lack of fu­ture work.

The an­nounce­ment, ex­pected in the next few days, is likely to mainly af­fect sites at War­ton and Sam­les­bury in Lan­cashire, where air­craft as­sem­bly takes place.

A BAE Sys­tems spokesman said: “BAE Sys­tems con­tin­u­ally re­views its op­er­a­tions to make sure we are per­form­ing as ef­fec­tively and ef­fi­ciently as pos­si­ble, de­liv­er­ing our com­mit­ments to ex­ist­ing cus­tomers and en­sur­ing we are best placed to se­cure fu­ture busi­ness.

“If and when there are any changes pro­posed we are com­mit­ted to com­mu­ni­cat­ing with our em­ploy­ees and their rep­re­sen­ta­tives first.”

Nia Grif­fith, shadow de­fence sec­re­tary, said: “This is dev­as­tat­ing news for the work­ers and their fam­i­lies. The men and women who work on the Eurofighter are highly skilled and the po­ten­tial loss of these jobs would have an ap­palling im­pact on them, the lo­cal econ­omy and wider sup­ply chains.

“The gov­ern­ment must come for­ward ur­gently with a clear plan to se­cure these jobs at BAE, as well as a proper de­fence in­dus­trial strat­egy to give the in­dus­try the cer­tainty that it needs.”

The Prime Min­is­ter’s of­fi­cial spokesman told a West­min­ster me­dia brief­ing: “No an­nounce­ment has been made from the com­pany, so I think it would be wrong for me to pre-empt any an­nounce­ment.

“What I would say is we do have a long track record of work­ing with BAE Sys­tems and its work­ers and we will con­tinue to do so.”

BAE Sys­tems in War­ton, Lan­cashire

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