In a devastating blow, the defence firm has said that it is planning to announce further redundancies of 3,000, after two years of other similar cuts in its workforce.
BAE’s sprawling country-wide reach is to be particularly badly hit in several areas, mostly in Lancashire – the site where the Eurofighter Typhoon jet is manufactured. The Brough site in east Yorkshire is another site that is expected to be badly hit, which is where the Hawk training jet is produced.
Citing a lack of customer requirements and a general lack of funds available to spend, chief executive of BAE Systems Ian King said that Ministry of Defence budget austerity was one of the reasons for a slowdown in production of the Eurofighter Typhoons, but that BAE Systems would now work even harder to “deliver efficiency improvements.”
One other problem regarding the production of the Typhoon is the fact that international buyers are expected to be loathe to buy the jets unless they are equipped with the latest e-scan radar. The UK hasn’t yet invested in that technology.
A BAE Systems spokeswoman said: “BAE Systems recognises that the long-term future of Typhoon is based on its export potential and therefore we need to ensure we are in the best possible position to secure those opportunities – extending the production programme will help us achieve this. We remain committed to making Typhoon a success both in the UK and overseas markets.”
The unions have voiced their concerns over the projected job losses. Unite’s national officer for aerospace Ian Waddell made it clear he would be in contact with the defence firm in a damage limitation exercise: “We will be seeking urgent talks with BAE Systems to try and clarify where these jobs are under threat and to work with them to avoid compulsory redundancies wherever possible.”