Falling profits have forced aircraft engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce to restructure its business

Rolls-Royce considers closing sites as part of efficiency drive

At least 300 workers will be made redundant at Rolls-Royce factories across the UK with possible closures of some sites as part of the engineering firm’s drive to cut cost.

Most of the job cuts are expected to take place in Derby with one of Rolls-Royce’s turbine manufacturing sites likely to close. Another site at Ansty, in Warwickshire, is also considered for closure, the company said.

The job cuts are part of major restructuring plans announced earlier this year that will see up to 2,600 positions across Rolls-Royce’s plants around the world being scrapped over the next 18 months.

Most of the redundancies are expected to affect Rolls-Royce’s aerospace division, which has been struggling with falling demand due to widespread defence spending cuts.

Apart from the Derby site, which may lose up to 50 per cent of its workforce, further UK sites likely to be affected include factories at Inchinnan near Glasgow, Barnoldswick in Lancashire, and Hucknall in Nottinghamshire.

"On 4 November 2014, Rolls-Royce announced proposals to reduce headcount by 2,600, principally within our aerospace division,” said the company’s spokesman. “We said this would include reductions in engineering, our operational facilities, and support functions, and that we would work closely with employees and their representatives to achieve the necessary reductions on a voluntary basis where possible.”

Consolidation of the company’s turbine machining operations as part of the efficiency drive will be subject to a consultation and feasibility assessment, the spokesman said.

The company will focus on efficiency of its low-volume part production. In order to maximise its supply chain it may transfer complex machining operations to its modern turbine blade facility in Derby.

"With this and the advanced airfoil machining facility in Crosspointe, Virginia, we are able to use our newer, cost-competitive facilities,” the spokesman explained.

Depending on the outcome of the public assessment, the turbine blade manufacturing facilities at Ansty and the precision machining facility in Derby could be closed during 2017.

A further 240 roles will go in the company’s internal supply chain facilities across the UK and Germany.

"These cuts are a huge loss of skills to the UK economy and will result in Rolls-Royce outsourcing high-tech manufacturing jobs overseas to plug the skills gap in the future," said Unite regional officer Tony Tinley.

"There is a real danger that Rolls-Royce is making decisions in the short-term which it will later regret and it needs to give a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies."

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