Jobs D-day looms for BAE staff

BAE Systems, Warton. John Cameron (UNITE)

BAE Systems, Warton. John Cameron (UNITE)

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HUNDREDS of BAE Systems workers will this week be told they will lose their jobs following a massive consultation period at the site.

After announcing 1,400 potential job losses at Warton and Samlesbury – 820 at Warton alone – more than half have been saved.

But notices will go out to the remaining workers this week that their positions are under threat.

The move has angered union leaders who believe every skilled job at the Warton site could be saved.

John Cameron (pictured), convener for the Unite union at Warton, said: “The company has told us they want to formally issue notice to people. We think it’s a mistake to tell workers now and that all of these potential losses can be mitigated.

“The letters coming out this week will frighten the life out of people. They’ll be putting people through unnecessary grief.

“We formally requested BAE to hold off while discussions continue but they went ahead with briefings in the last few days.

“We’ve a view that it’s too early to send these letters.”

The Gazette understands the first letters to those in threatened positions have already been sent out.

Engineer Chris George from Lytham said it was a difficult time. He added: “They are trying to do everything for us and keep us informed, but if I get one of those letters through the door, I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

Production on the Typhoon was slowed down late last year as orders for the state-of-the-art jet dried up. The slowdown will ensure the continuation of the production line while new orders are sought.

Hopes are high that this week India will buy 126 of the jets in a deal worth £7 billion.

Winning the deal would not save any of the jobs under threat, but would help sustain future jobs while yet more orders are sought.

The 90-day consultation period for the 820 jobs ended between Christmas and New Year, but BAE bosses pledged there would be no “deadline day” where workers would be told en masse if their jobs were safe.

A spokesman for BAE said: “Since the announcement on September 27, BAE has been working closely with trade unions, employee representatives and other parties to mitigate as many of the potential job losses as possible.

“Whilst we continue to explore all opportunities for mitigation, sadly, in certain areas across Samlesbury and Warton it is looking unlikely that we will be able to mitigate all potential job losses and we are now identifying areas where it may be necessary to make compulsory redundancies.

“Employees in these areas will be notified of this position at the earliest opportunity. The Company has given a commitment that no employee will leave the business before the end of March 2012 unless they do so voluntarily.”