Britain’s biggest defence contractor BAE Systems is slashing almost 2,000 jobs, the firm revealed on Tuesday, Oct. 10.
Up to 1,400 jobs will be lost in the Military Air business over the next three years, 375 roles will be lost in Maritime Services, and 150 in the cyber-intelligence business.
750 roles will go in Warton and Samlesbury. Workers in Brough, east Yorkshire will lose 400 jobs, and a total of 180 posts will close in London, Guilford, and other locations.
The decision comes as the company slows down the production of its Typhoon Aircraft.
The company is expecting an order from the Qatar government, but it is not yet finalised.
In a statement, BAE said, “Negotiations are progressing to agree a contract with the government of Qatar, which, if secured, would sustain Typhoon production jobs and manufacturing well into the next decade.”
Union Unite, which has around 1.42 million members across many types of workplaces, said they will fight what they call a “devastatingly short sighted” decision.
“Unite will not stand by and allow the defence of our nation to be outsourced abroad. These devastatingly short sighted cuts will harm communities, jobs and skills. Unite will fight for every job and support every community under threat in both BAE’s aerospace and marine divisions,” they said in a statement.
Speaking in Parliament, Business Minister Claire Perry insisted that the decision is “normal business practice.”
“It would be wrong for the Government to try to interfere in business processes,” she said. She also said that the move “is not related to any UK defence spending decisions.”
Its main customer is the Ministry of Defence, who have been criticised by unions for spending more money buying weapons and aircraft from the United States, instead of the United Kingdom.
A government spokesman said to Sky News, “BAE Systems have taken this decision as a result of internal restructuring. It is clearly a concerning time for their workers and the Government stands ready to support those affected.”
“Our MoD spent £3.7bn with BAE last year, and we also continually bang the drum for our world-leading defence industry right across the globe, supporting companies like BAE in securing contracts for UK-made equipment.”
BAE’s new chief executive, Charles Woodburn said in a statement that the new changes would “accelerate our evolution to a more streamlined, de-layered organisation, with a sharper competitive edge and a renewed focus on technology.”
Proposed redundencies (approximate figures):
Warton and Samlesbury, in Lancashire – 750
Brough, East Yorkshire – 400
RAF Marham & RAF Leeming – 245
Portsmouth – 340
London, Guildford and other Applied Intelligence locations – 150
Other UK locations – 30
Total – 1,915