Fury over BAE jobs losses leak

Union leaders have expressed fury that staff at BAE Systems were being kept waiting to hear confirmation of thousands of job losses in the wake of the government’s defence cuts.

The defence giant is expected to end days of speculation today by announcing about 3,000 job cuts, mainly at sites in its military aircraft division in Warton and Samlesbury in Lancashire and Brough, East Yorkshire.

The company said: “BAE Systems has informed its staff that we are reviewing our operations across various businesses to make sure the company is performing as effectively and efficiently as possible, both in delivering our commitments to existing customers and ensuring the company is best placed to secure future business. Whilst there has been a lot of media speculation, it has always been our intention to communicate the results of the review to employees as a priority, and this will take place on Tuesday, 27 September.”

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Union officials said the government’s defence cuts were to blame for the job losses, which they described as a “hammer blow” to manufacturing, as orders for the Eurofighter Typhoon combat jet slow down.

Paul McCarthy, regional officer of the GMB, said it was a “disgrace” that workers had heard via a leak to the media over the weekend that thousands of job losses were imminent. “We are going to ask the company to launch a formal investigation to establish who leaked this information.”

Dave Oglesby, another GMB officer, said a consultation on previously announced job cuts at Brough had only just finished. “Workers were told the purpose of the cuts was to make Brough viable and save jobs for the future.”

Unite national officer Ian Waddell said: “These job losses will be a hammer blow to the UK defence industry, which is already reeling with the consequences of the government’s ‘buy-off-the-shelf’ policy.” He called on the government to offer support to BAE Systems to keep its order book strong and avert heavy job losses.