Talks start on how to halt cuts impact

Fylde MP Mark Menzies
Fylde MP Mark Menzies
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WORKERS face weeks of anxiety over the fate of their jobs as local MPs rally in a bid to minimise the devastating impact of BAE Systems’ cuts on the Fylde Coast.

Union officials will meet with Aerospace bosses this afternoon to begin “detailed discussion” about where the axe will fall at Warton, where 800-plus workers are set to lose their jobs.

And Fylde MP Mark Menzies is locked in talks with ministers as he aims to find ways to bring more highly-skilled jobs into Warton.

Workers have now entered a 90-day consultation period with bosses at the Warton plant and John Cameron, spokesman for the union Unite, said: “In terms of any further detail we have a formal meeting with the company this afternoon when we’ll start working on the detail and asking questions.

“We will be asking the challenging questions and demanding answers from the business to get clarity about what they are planning to do and how they are going to manage this whole situation.”

Warton missed out earlier this year on being part of one of the Government’s enterprise zones, but Mr Menzies hopes a smaller-scale “growth zone” can be created to bring high-skilled jobs to the village.

He said: “I’m having conversations with ministers primarily to work out what assistance they can offer to the workers at Warton and I’m keeping the pressure up on trying to get a growth zone which creates the right conditions for new jobs.”

Fylde Council has also pledged to help bring new jobs to the area, and Coun Trevor Fiddler, portfolio holder for planning and development, said: “What we can do is ensure that Fylde and Lancashire is as prepared as possible to generate and host new jobs in the future when the economy does start to bounce back.”

It is feared communities surrounding BAE, including the neighbouring town of Kirkham as well as Warton itself, will be devastated by the jobs loss.

Elaine Silverwood, from Kirkham and Wesham Business Group, said: “The ripple effect will be huge. Only time will tell how the impact will affect everyone.”

And BAE worker Ian Fishwick, who works in config management on the Typhoon, said: “We’ve known about this for a few months in terms of something was coming, but we didn’t know the scale of it.

“Long term the idea of this is to make us more competitive so you would hope long-term there’s a future for us if you survive this.”