Just over a fortnight ago (May 20) UNITElive reported that Rolls-Royce is to cut 9,000 jobs globally, 3,375 of them in the UK, by the end of 2020 with more to come in 2021.
At the time Unite assistant general secretary for manufacturing Steve Turner said, “The news that Rolls Royce is preparing to throw thousands of skilled, loyal, world class workers, their families and communities under the bus during the worst public health crisis since 1918 is shameful opportunism.”
Unite feared that Rolls-Royce will do as it has done in the past – and have the majority of its planned job cuts fall upon the UK.
And sadly now those fears have come to pass. Last night (June 3) announced that Rolls-Royce is indeed planning to shed over 3,000 jobs in the UK.
“The announcement by Rolls-Royce is another warning sign that the UK is in serious danger of losing its leading position in aerospace, in addition to losing thousands of skilled jobs,” commented Unite national officer for the aerospace sector, Rhys McCarthy.
“Unite understands the seriousness of the Covid-19 pandemic and the impact on the aviation and aerospace industries, with the likely scenario of a recovery to passenger demand for long-haul, wide-bodied jets, which Rolls Royce makes the engines for, not expected to recover to pre-pandemic levels until 2024/2025.
“This is why Unite has negotiated with Rolls-Royce the opening of a voluntary severance scheme across the company to mitigate any potential future redundancies and buy sometime so that Rolls-Royce can develop the Plan B that our members and other stakeholders so desperately need,” McCarthy explained.
He continued, “The company’s defence and power divisions provide some protection in the short-term from further sweeping job losses, but this company urgently needs to develop a diversification plan to fill the gap in its civil aerospace division. It also has to move to bring new technologies to the market, building on the huge assets of the skills and factories it has in the UK.”
The job loss plans includes the Derby and Inchinnan, Scotland sites. “Rolls-Royce has informed workers they are now opening a voluntary redundancy scheme,” reported regional officer Debbie Hutchings.
“The reality of the situation is that we could see 700 jobs move out of Inchinnan with vital jobs and skills being lost forever to the Scottish economy. The impact on the supply chain would be far reaching and it would have a devastating impact on communities and families,” she added.
McCarthy added, “The UK government also has a key role in supporting diversification for the aviation and aerospace industries. We need them to be bold with levels of state investment and support last seen in the post-war period.”
“More widely, the UK needs to develop a survival and recovery strategy that includes an aircraft scrappage scheme so that more environmentally friendly aircraft, wings and engines that the UK produces can be brought into service by airlines.
“Other countries such as France are already following this path; if we fail to follow suit we will see our competitors overtake us and help drive their economies out of the pandemic-induced recession while we lag behind and never catch up,” he concluded.
This newest confirmation confirms more woe for the already beleaguered aerospace and aviation sectors. It looks like over 30,000 UK jobs are at risk – with that figure expected to continue to rise.
Compiled by Amanda Campbell @amanda_unite