Labour backs BAE job fight

Len McCluskey
Len McCluskey
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BAE union leaders met opposition leader Ed Miliband and other leading MPs at the Labour Party conference to talk about the 822 jobs set to be axed in Warton.

Delegates at the party’s annual conference unanimously backed a motion to fight the job cuts at the defence firm.

The Unite union’s motion called on the conference: “to intervene now to do everything it can to protect these jobs and avoid this mass haemorrhaging of high skilled jobs which are essential to the future of a sustainable defence manufacturing industry, and to demand that the government and the MoD act to defend key manufacturing jobs.”

The job losses at Warton are part of 3,000 nationwide that BAE has put down to a slowdown in the international arms market.

The Warton jobs are to be shed after the four Typhoon member nations agreed to slow the production of the state-of-the-art dual-role aircraft.

John Cameron of Unite said: “Some of my colleagues met with Ed Miliband and other leading opposition MPs to discuss the situation. We have been meeting with MPs here as well and we met once again with Fylde MP Mark Menzies yesterday.

“There is a political edge - the principal customer is the Ministry of Defence which is the Government.”

Unite leader Len McCluskey told the conference in Liverpool that the solution to the job losses was in ministers’ hands and that they should be working to help invest in Typhoon to make it a more exportable product.

He added: “If they don’t, UK taxpayers’ money will be spent on American equipment instead of supporting UK jobs.”

Mr Miliband gave the workers his support and called for the Government to: “get stuck in and not stand aside.”

Union

Back at Warton, union leaders had their first full meeting with the company.

Mr Cameron said the situation was progressing with regular meetings agreed between the union and management.

He added: “We’ve had our first formal consultation with the business, asking for details.

“That is something we will be working on over the coming weeks.

“We’ve agreed to hold weekly meetings with management to progress the consultation with the business.

BAE announced on Tuesday that along with the 822 Warton jobs, 565 would be lost at Samlesbury, and 900 at Brough which mainly deals with the Hawk aircraft.