Jets deal end to cuts in pay

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FYLDE MP Mark Menzies has applauded aerospace staff who gave up a day’s pay every month to save colleagues’ jobs after it was announced the deal has been scrapped.

BAE Systems bosses have confirmed the deal struck between unions and management in March will no longer be enacted after the company secured two deals to sell aircraft to the Middle East.

But Mr Menzies said the show of solidarity was still to be admired.

He added: “Clearly this is great news and further evidence the workforce at Warton has been truly dedicated to getting the right outcome and securing the long term future of the plant.

“The workforce, the unions and the management at BAE Systems have to be congratulated.”

Last month’s £2.5bn order from the Sultanate of Oman to buy 12 Typhoons and eight of the latest version of the Hawk trainer aircraft has improved prospects at BAE which had endured a turbulent 2012.

In the spring workers were told the company would have to consider redundancies and the unions rallied workers to make the offer of cutting pay over a two year period to prevent compulsory job losses.

Today Bob Holmes, union convenor at the company’s Fylde factory at Warton confirmed the Omani deal and an earlier contract to supply Typhoons and 22 Hawks to Saudi Arabia was a relief for staff.

He added: “It was a great day for the trade union movement when the workers agreed to giving up a day’s pay to protect others’ jobs. They voted with a massive majority to agree to the scheme at the mass meeting at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool.

“The idea was to keep skilled workers in position and now, with these new orders, those workers are needed so everyone was proved right. We’re in a much better position than we were facing at Christmas last year. It is a great relief for everyone.”

Andy Leahy, Warton site director for BAE Systems’ military air & information business, said: “The fact we have been able to openly discuss and secure innovative agreements between all parties during challenging times shows a really mature approach - even if ultimately we have been able to avoid having to implement them.”

The Hawk trainers are to be built at Warton with the assembly line being set in place by workers on two-year secondment from BAE’s Brough factory in East Yorkshire.

Mr Holmes said 48 manual workers from Brough had been offered places at Warton and would play a key role in the project, with a view to permanent placements.

The Typhoon fighters will have their final assembly and test flights carried out at the Warton site.