Unite fears for RAF Valley jobs

Reps concerned work could be moved and jobs lost

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Unite is deeply concerned that proposals recently presented to Unite reps could see 180 jobs cut from the Hawk contract at RAF Valley by 2033. The fears stem from the contract negotiation between BAE Systems and the Ministry of Defence for the T1 and T2 Hawk aircraft.

For the T1 Hawk, Unite are astounded to learn that there is an active proposal to move all the T1 Depth Maintenance to RAF Leeming by 2023. This move would accelerate the loss of 50-70 jobs at Valley.

The proposal makes no sense from either a financial or operational perspective and we have yet to see the full business rationale for the proposed move.

While the T1 Hawk aircraft is currently due to go out of Service by 2027, Unite are aware of a separate discussion  that  is likely to see that date extended to 2035 and possibly beyond.

Unite is deeply concerned that the motive to move the T1 Depth Maintenance work is political. The MP for the Leeming area is Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who has publicly championed bringing more work to RAF Leeming. Unite are adamant that this will not happen at the expense of our members jobs at RAF Valley.

In relation to the T2 Hawk there is a threat of greater job losses in the proposal which could see a further over 100 jobs lost by 2033 based on the figures supplied to Unite.

“Unite is alarmed at the proposals presented to our Representatives that could slash the number of  jobs on the Hawk contract by 2033, with many of the job cuts potentially coming in the next five years,” Peter Hughes, Unite Regional Secretary commented.

“Anglesey has suffered a significant loss of skilled work recent years and the  prospect of the further loss of aviation jobs at RAF Valley  must be reversed otherwise the economic damage will be another hammer blow to the area,” he continued.

“The rationale for moving the T1 Hawk work to RAF Leeming does not add up, especially as  the MoD is seeking significant efficiency savings as part of the new contract. Chancellor Rishi Sunak needs to keep his hands off our member’s jobs at RAF Valley. It is also time for Anglesey MP, Virginia Crosbie to start demonstrating the same commitment and support for jobs at RAF Valley as her Tory Party colleague does for RAF Leeming.

“Unite welcomed the decision to base the Texan aircraft at Valley in 2019 and the corresponding skilled jobs but we cannot accept those gains being eroded by proposals that could see significant reduction in jobs on the Hawk contract in the coming years,” he added.

As the contract negotiations between the MOD and BAE Systems have recently been put on temporary pause the job cuts are not a done deal but there is still a significant threat to overall job number at RAF Valley in the coming years. Unite will campaign to save the jobs under threat at RAF Valley.

“We believe these are the wrong proposals at the wrong time and for the wrong reasons. The MoD should be investing in the RAF Valley workforce for the long term rather than looking to cut jobs,” Hughes concluded.

By Glyn Conolly

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