Tag Archives: rolls royce.

West Midlands aerospace industry at ‘five to midnight’ as government stays silent on support

Unite, the West Midlands’ leading union, is warning that the region’s world-beating aerospace industry is at ‘five to midnight’, staring at the loss of thousands of highly skilled jobs and billions in economic contribution unless the sector receives urgent support from the government.

The union is appealing to the people of the region to get behind its campaign to keep jobs and incomes in the community.

Unite’s warning comes after Collins Aerospace announced 300 potential redundancies at its sites in Wolverhampton, Birmingham Marston Green as well as at Banbury in Oxfordshire. Aerospace parts firm SPS Technologies has also announced 100 job losses at its factory in Rugby. Meanwhile West Midlands employer Rolls Royce is planning to shed 3,000 jobs across the UK.

With a huge decline in new orders and maintenance work – a knock-on effect from the pandemic hit to the aviation sector – many more jobs are at risk in the industry right across the region. More than 12,000 aerospace redundancies have already been announced in the UK.

Unite issued its jobs warning following the publication of a new report by economic experts Acuity Analysis, which details the challenges facing the West Midlands’ and the entire UK aerospace sector. The analysis profiles the importance of the sector to the region’s economy and reveals:

  • The West Midlands region is heavily reliant on the aerospace sector, with 5,100 workers being employed in the sector.
  • There are 100 employers in the region split between 50 manufacturing companies and 50 companies specialising in the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) of aircraft.
  • Major aerospace employers in the region include BAE, Bombardier, GKN, Rolls Royce and Collins Aerospace.
  • The sector is incredibly valuable for the region generating £756 million in gross value added per annum.

According to Unite, which has been battling for sector support since March, large-scale job losses would have a crippling effect on both the West Midlands’ and the nation’s economies: 5,000 aerospace jobs lost would see more than £2 billion wiped off the UK’s economic output.

Unite has been pressing the UK government to follow the lead of competitor nations such as France and Germany to establish an investment programme for the sector to survive, rebuild and recover. A central call from the union is for the government to extend the jobs retention scheme to prevent the premature loss of more jobs and skills while the sector works to build back.

Unite regional officer for the West Midlands, Andy Taylor, said: “Aerospace is absolutely crucial to the West Midlands’ economy but the lack of action at Westminster means we now stand at five to midnight and could be looking at a very bleak future.

“Jobs are going by the day and our world-leading status is slipping away as other nations sense the competitive advantage in our government’s inaction.

“Without the support this sector is crying out for we will lose thousands of the highly skilled, secure jobs that we are told the UK needs and that the government wishes to encourage.

“It is a travesty that the government has not followed the lead of other countries including France and Germany to provide specific support for what is a world class industry. Worse still, the UK government’s silence on support gives our competitors a business advantage.

“We are pleading with the government. Waste no more time. Be clear that the JRS will be extended for the sector to preserve skills and jobs, and bring forward a package of support for the aerospace sector which would not only preserve jobs in the West Midlands but be the shot in the arm the national economy desperately needs.”

Unite is urging everyone who is employed directly in the aerospace industry or indirectly associated with it to contact their MP and ask them to lobby the government for support for the sector.

Andy Taylor added: “If you work in the West Midlands’ aerospace sector or know someone who does, then please help us save this flagship industry and keep our communities in work. Pick up the phone to your MP or drop them an email. Only by speaking up together can we win the future our workers absolutely deserve.”

Nottinghamshire Rolls Royce supply chain redundancies ‘nasty shock’ to local economy

Job losses at Turbine Surface Technologies Ltd (TSTL) in Annesley, Nottinghamshire, are a ‘nasty shock’ to the local economy, Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, said today (Monday 15 June).

TSTL, which employs about 600 people and produces coatings for Rolls Royce gas turbine components, has announced 106 redundancies across its operations.

Unite said it had secured a ‘generous’ voluntary redundancy package and is working with the company to minimise compulsory job losses.

The union warned that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the aerospace sector, which employs nearly 26,000 people in the East Midlands, are at risk of ‘falling like dominos’ without government intervention.

This could lead to aerospace supply chains shifting to countries where state support for manufacturing is being provided, such as France, Unite said.

Unite regional coordinating officer Shaun Lee said: “The redundancies at TSTL are linked to the impact of the coronavirus and the reduction in demand from Rolls Royce. They have come as a nasty shock to the workforce and the local economy. 

“Unite has secured a generous voluntary redundancy package and will be providing support to our members during this difficult time. We are working with the company to minimise compulsory job losses.

“TSTL was expanding and growing its workforce prior to March of this year. Without government support for the survival and recovery of the aerospace industry, SMEs like TSTL are at risk of falling like dominos. Aerospace supply chains are in danger of moving to countries like France, which is openly supporting its aerospace and manufacturing industries.”

Unite to fight proposals by Wyman Gordon to cut its Livingston workforce by over a third

Unite Scotland has today (9 June) vowed to fight the announcement by Wyman Gordon to cut its workforce by over a third. The Livingston based company which employs 187 people has issued redundancy notices to 72 workers blaming a significant drop in orders due to the crisis facing the aerospace and aviation industries.

The company has cited a substantial drop in orders from Rolls Royce, and Pratt and Whitney, who supply Airbus and Boeing. As part of the restructure the company is also proposing to review the existing terms and conditions of the remaining employees at the factory.

The trade union has strongly criticised the decision by Wyman Gordon not to continue using the UK government’s Job Retention Scheme beyond the 29 June, and to instead issue redundancy notices. Unite is also campaigning to get the Scottish and UK governments to bring forward sector specific support packages for the wider aviation, aerospace, and manufacturing sectors.

Graeme Turnbull, Unite regional officer, said: “Unite will fight these proposed redundancies because this is an unnecessary decision by Wyman Gordon. We understand the challenges facing the sector because it’s our members on the frontline, but the company should continue using the job retention scheme while specific sector support packages are brought forward.

“More clearly needs to be done by the UK and Scottish governments to stabilise those sectors who have borne the brunt of the Covid-19 pandemic in order to give confidence to companies and workers that there is a clear way forward for the aviation and aerospace industries out of this crisis.”

Unite Scotland support for Rolls Royce Task Force

Unite Scotland has today (8 June) supported calls for the creation of an Aviation and Aerospace Task Force which would focus on Rolls Royce as up to 700 jobs are under immediate threat at the company’s Inchinnan site.

Local MSP, Neill Bibby, has publicly called for the creation of a Task Force and the need for the Scottish Government to work with other key stakeholders including Unite to avoid mass redundancies. Unite has asked the Scottish Government to consider emergency financial support for the workforce and that Rolls Royce should halt any redundancy process while the UK Government’s Job Retention Scheme is in operation.

As the country’s leading aviation and aerospace trade union, Unite on 13 March wrote to the First Minister following a previous letter to the Transport Minister, Michael Matheson, on 6 March, demanding that a Task Force be established due to the unfolding crisis in the sectors following the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Unite’s call for the establishment of a Task Force was not supported by the Scottish Government.

Debbie Hutchings, Unite regional officer, said: “Unite warmly welcomes the growing support for the creation of an Aviation and Aerospace Task Force following Rolls Royce’s harrowing announcement. It’s vital that the Task Force is immediately established as Neil Bibby MSP is suggesting to deal with the unfolding crisis at Inchinnan.  Unite, in fact, wrote to the First Minister in March demanding the creation of a Task Force but our proposal was not supported. We believe this decision could come back to haunt the Scottish Government.” 

“However, let’s be clear, the ultimate responsibility for this situation lies with Rolls Royce because there is no need to initiate the voluntary severance scheme while the government’s job retention scheme is in place. Unite is also working hard to pressure governments both at a UK and Scottish level to bring forward sector support packages which we believe makes the announcement premature.” 

Unite statement on Rolls-Royce jobs announcement

Commenting on the announcement today (Wednesday 3 June) that Rolls-Royce is planning to shed over 3,000 jobs in the UK, Unite national officer for the aerospace sector, Rhys McCarthy, said:

“Today’s announcement by Rolls-Royce is another warning sign that the UK is in serious danger of losing its leading position in aerospace, in addition to losing thousands of skilled jobs.

“Unite understands the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact on the aviation and aerospace industries, with the likely scenario of a recovery to passenger demand for long-haul, wide-bodied jets, which Rolls Royce makes the engines for, not expected to recover to pre-pandemic levels until 2024/2025.

“This is why Unite has negotiated with Rolls-Royce the opening of a voluntary severance scheme across the company to mitigate any potential future redundancies and buy sometime so that Rolls-Royce can develop the Plan B that our members and other stakeholders so desperately need.

“The company’s defence and power divisions provide some protection in the short-term from further sweeping job losses, but this company urgently needs to develop a diversification plan to fill the gap in its civil aerospace division.  It also has to move to bring new technologies to the market, building on the huge assets of the skills and factories it has in the UK.

“The UK government also has a key role in supporting diversification for the aviation and aerospace industries.  We need them to be bold with levels of state investment and support last seen in the post-war period.

“More widely, the UK needs to develop a survival and recovery strategy that includes an aircraft scrappage scheme so that more environmentally friendly aircraft, wings and engines that the UK produces can be brought into service by airlines.

“Other countries such as France are already following this path; if we fail to follow suit we will see our competitors overtake us and help drive their economies out of the pandemic-induced recession while we lag behind and never catch up.