BAE axes 230 jobs at submarine site

BAE Systems plans to axe up to 230 jobs at a submarine site following a review of its business, the company announced today. The defence firm launched a 90-day consultation with unions over the job cuts at Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria, saying the move was "regrettable." 

BAE's Submarine Solutions division said it had carried out a detailed review of its current and future workload requirements to make sure 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. We will work with our employees and their representatives to explore ways of mitigating these potential job losses and we will ensure employees are fully supported throughout this process."

BAE Systems Submarine Solutions employs around 5,000 people across nine UK locations, constructing the Astute class of nuclear-powered submarines.

Hugh Scullion, general secretary of the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions (CSEU), said: "The CSEU believes that with a positive attitude to negotiations, there will be no need for compulsory job losses.

"Local talks have been initiated to mitigate the numbers of jobs to be lost and we believe that through volunteers, transfers, re-training, re-skilling, and the use of mobility agreements, this will negate the need for compulsory redundancies.

"This is not the time to rid the shipbuilding industry of its skills base. There is an ongoing build-up of work on the carrier project and more work to continue with the Astute Project. These skills are required now and will be into the future. That is why the talks need to be proactive to avoid the need for compulsory redundancies."

Keith Hazlewood, national officer of the GMB union, said: "This decision to slow down the speed of construction will extend the build by nine months per boat. This will impact on the workforce by a loss of jobs in the core workforce and amongst the sub-contractors.

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

Today's news takes the number of jobs lost or threatened this week to more than 5,000 following a series of announcements about cuts in employment. More than 3,300 cuts were announced or confirmed yesterday, hitting council, retail and manufacturing workers in different parts of the UK.

The black day followed announcements of 1,600 job losses on Tuesday, including 400 at Cadbury's Somerdale factory in Somerset, which is to close with the loss of 400 jobs despite hopes that new owner Kraft would save it.

The run of bad news comes ahead of new unemployment figures next week.

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