Fylde job losses 'will not be saved' by Typhoon order

Minister Harriett Baldwin with Mark Menzies, Martin Taylor of BAE Systems and RAFs Ian Duiguid at BAE System's Warton site
Minister Harriett Baldwin with Mark Menzies, Martin Taylor of BAE Systems and RAFs Ian Duiguid at BAE System's Warton site
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Unions have welcomed a £5bn order for 24 Typhoon aircraft  form Qatar, but warned it would not prevent job losses.

The deal announced with the Qatar Emiri Air Force includes a support and training package and delivery of the jets will start late in 2022.

A Typhoon in action

A Typhoon in action

But hopes that it might stave off some of the 700 plus job losses announced in October by BAE Systems earlier this year in Lancashire where the aircraft are made, have been cooled by unions.

Bob Holmes, Warton Union Convenor, said: “We are delighted the order has been confirmed, but it will not have any effect on the job losses which have been announced.

“The company had factored in the likely Qatar order before they made their redundancy announcement.

“We are pleased it has been won because if not it would have made things significantly worse.

“The good part from this order is that all the work will be done at the two Lancashire plants, Samlesbury and Warton and there is no work share with the customer. The manufacture and final assembly will all be done here.”

He said the union were continuing to work with the management over the redundancy process which will run until 2019.

He said there was the opportunity to win more new work during that extended period which might safeguard more jobs and the company was continually in talks with potential customers.

The Qatar deal makes it the ninth country to buy Typhoon. Fylde MP Mark Menzies said: “This is a great day for Warton and BAE Systems.

"This is the culmination of years of hard work by BAE Systems and the Government and is the biggest defence deal the UK has seen for more than a decade, and will help keep the Typhoon production line’s 5,000 direct employees in work for years, as well as thousands more in the supply chain.”

Defence Procurement minister Harriett Baldwin, who visited Warton as the deal was signed, said: “I am delighted to be in Warton to congratulate the team from BAE Systems for winning the UK’s biggest defence contract for 10 years.

"There has been a lot of discussion between BAE, Qatar and the Government about this deal for a long time - this is an early Christmas present for the workforce here, securing thousands of jobs.

"The Government is working with BAE Systems on other bids, including Saudi Arabia, Belgium and Finland, and this deal shows the positive and bright future for this aircraft which has been used effectively against Daesh.”