'Death by a thousands cuts'

Rolls-Royce accused of ‘choking’ company’s future and ‘selling family silver’ in sell-off and plant rundown announcement

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Unite has described Rolls-Royce’s announcement of fresh job losses as ‘choking the company’s future’, while the proposals to transfer or rundown parts of the business is ‘selling the family silver’.

Rolls-Royce announced further jobs losses today (December 3), which follows the announcement of 1,400 job losses last month and 3,000 job losses in June.

In a fresh blow for workers, Rolls-Royce announced it is planning to sell its manufacturing plant in Hucknall, Nottinghamshire. Further work at Barnoldswick is also being transferred, greatly intensifying fears for the future of the factory. In addition, the decision to transfer work from Inchinnan, Renfrewshire, to Derby, poses a further threat to the Scottish plant.

The job losses will include making some of the company’s apprentices redundant – the first time in over 30 years that there have been job cuts among this group of workers.

The announcement of fresh job losses is a result of the severe downturn in the aerospace industry, which is directly a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Unlike many other European countries, the government has failed to provide specific support to the aerospace sector, leading to far higher job losses than would otherwise have been the case.

Such sector specific support should come with binding ties that Rolls-Royce must maintain work in the UK and not offshore it aboard.

The fresh Rolls-Royce job losses will also have a major impact on the company’s supply chain. For every job loss at Rolls-Royce, there are likely to be four job losses in the supply chain.

Unite national officer Rhys McCarthy said, “Rolls-Royce’s timing of the latest round of job losses stinks, workers have been left fearing for their futures as Christmas approaches.

“This announcement amounts to a death by a thousand cuts will send a chill through Rolls-Royce’s workers and the entire supply chain,” he added.

“Choking the company’s future like this is clearly about pacifying the City and shareholders in the short term, while disregarding the hopes and concerns of workers and their families.

“Unite will be arguing that the decision to make apprentices redundant must be reversed, they are the future life blood of the company and their loss will affect the long-term success of Rolls-Royce,” he went on to say.

“Plans to sell the Hucknall plant and transfer work from Barnoldswick and Inchinnan is selling the family silver, the work is crucial to Rolls-Royce and the skills of the workforce are unique.

“The blame for the latest job losses must also fall on the government. Unlike other countries such as France and Germany, it has failed to provide specific support to the aerospace sector, which is resulting in job losses being far steeper in the UK than in other countries,” McCarthy noted.

“Unite is calling on the government to immediately step in to prevent these job losses and to ensure the future of the aerospace sector in the UK.

“Unite is fully prepared to enter into detailed negotiations with Rolls-Royce to fully consider all alternatives in order to preserve jobs and guarantee the future of all the company’s manufacturing plants.”

By Barckley Sumner

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