New work hope for staff at BAE

Ben Wallace (MP for Wyre)

Ben Wallace (MP for Wyre)

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THE news that half of the potential job losses at BAE have been saved has been welcomed – but any new orders for the firm should see yet more jobs saved.

That’s the message from Fylde coast MPs after BAE’s announcement that some workers may face compulsory redundancy.

The firm said that more than half of the 1,400 jobs under threat at Warton and Samlesbury had been mitigated.

However, many of the 820 workers at Warton will this week be sent their official notice by the defence firm.

Union leaders believe the letters have been issued too soon and that more jobs could be saved at the site where final assembly of the Eurofighter Typhoon takes place.

Wyre MP Ben Wallace said: “We should be relieved that half of the jobs have been relocated within the group.

“And I’m hopeful that some of the potential orders abroad are set to come off.

“Nevertheless, it will be a sad day for some.

“The next step, if we start winning these orders, is that I expect them to start re-employing these people.

“The India deal is different – it may affect some jobs at Samlesbury but not Warton.

“But if we win a further Saudi deal, the planes, if ordered, are nearly all assembled here.

“If they order a further 70 planes, I’ll be asking the question about jobs.

And Fylde MP Mark Menzies added: “It is a very difficult time for all involved. BAE has worked very hard since the announcement to keep the numbers down.

“But it will still be upsetting for the people affected.

“We now have to ensure that those affected have every support not only to find other work, but also with the timing of their leaving so that it maximises their opportunities.

“The fact the Prime Minister has spent in Saudi Arabia with its leader last week helping further our relationship with them shows how much we are looking for new business.

“If you’re a BAE employee, that can only be a good thing.”

It’s hoped India will this week commit to buying 126 of the state-of-the-art Typhoon jets. However, that deal alone will not save any jobs at Warton.

But any further orders for the aircraft could mitigate losses at the plant, where the production line was slowed this year while new orders are sought.