BAE Systems has agreed to reopen talks, originally finalised last month, concerning the proposed loss of 845 jobs at its Brough site.
BAE Systems sparked controversy several weeks ago by announcing the end of its consultation on plans to end almost 100 years of manufacturing at the Brough site. However, as revealed in the Mail, the company has agreed to “ongoing communications” with unions representing the workforce over the next three weeks.
BAE Systems announced its decision after a meeting with union bosses at its London headquarters on Tuesday. Speaking after the meeting, Unite’s national officer for aerospace Ian Waddell told the Mail: “We have had meaningful negotiations with the company who have hit the pause button for the next three weeks and agreed to ongoing discussions at a local level.”
The BAE Systems site at Brough undertakes work across a wide range of military products, namely the Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer, Eurofighter Typhoon, Tornado, F-35 Lightning II and various Unmanned Air Vehicle’s (UAV’s). The site has an extensive technical and manufacturing capability covering many aspects of engineering capabilities.
Established in 1916, the Brough site is arguably one of the world’s oldest ongoing manufacturers of military aircraft, employing a workforce of around 1200 people across its 300 acre footprint, and is currently the largest private sector employer in the East Riding of Yorkshire.
Workers at Brough say the announcement has given them hope. Paint sprayer Vince Panari said: “You can never say die. It’s not over till the fat lady sings. There’s no way we’ll be giving up. We want to see an extension of manufacturing here.”
Mr Panari, 55, of west Hull, has worked at BAE for 34 years and is still hoping to make it to retirement. He said: “I’d like another ten years. “I haven’t got a clue what I’ll do if they stop manufacturing. We’re just taking it day by day. But we haven’t been given an end date, so we’re never without hope.”
Hull West and Hessle MP Alan Johnson said: “A clear message has been sent to the company that the fight is far from over and there will be a lot more shouting. Obviously, that has led to the company having a bit if a rethink and I think that is partly down to the campaign, so I think the Hull Daily Mail can take some credit for that.”
BAE took the decision to reopen negotiations after a letter from one of the unions. Unite’s national officer for aerospace, Ian Waddell, wrote to BAE Systems chief executive Ian King asking him to intervene in the situation at Brough.
On Tuesday, a spokesman for BAE Systems said “constructive discussions” had taken place regarding the concerns expressed by the trade unions on behalf of the Brough workforce.