Choppy waters for BAE

Posted on 11 Feb 2010 by The Manufacturer

BAE Systems is set to cut up to 230 jobs at its submarine site in south Cumbria following a consultation with unions

The defence firm launched a 90 day consultation with unions over the job cuts at Barrow-in-Furness, saying that it had carried out a detailed review of its current and future workload requirements to ensure it had the correct skills and resources while maintaining a competitive cost base.

John Hudson, managing director at BAE Systems Submarine Solutions, said: “These steps are regrettable but necessary to ensure a sustainable business, thereby allowing the company to deliver to the customer in line with their expectations of value and schedule. We have a responsibility to manage our cost base to remain competitive and meet our customers’ future requirements.”

Keith Hazlewood, national officer of the GMB union, said jobs were hit by a decision to slow down the speed of submarine construction by nine months per boat. “It is nothing short of short-termism, which is not in the best interests of UK manufacturing, or the community in Barrow or other places that rely on the defence industry for jobs,” he said.

“GMB will be seeking a meeting with BAE to explore all means of mitigation against any compulsory job losses.”

BAE Systems Submarine Solutions employs approximately 5,000 people across nine UK locations, where it is constructing the Astute class of nuclear powered attack submarines.

Union officials say the job cuts are expected to include 55 steelworkers, 10 mechanicals/pipe workers, 15 electrical and 52 ancillary workers – such as cleaners and storemen.