Job losses in the pipeline as Rolls-Royce announces 'devastating' consolidation plans

Aero-engine giant Rolls-Royce is looking to merge its two Barnoldswick factories in a move the Pendle MP said would be 'devastating' for the area.

Rolls-Royce, Barnoldswick
Rolls-Royce, Barnoldswick

Rolls-Royce currently has two adjoining production units in the town – Bankfield and Ghyll Brow – employing around 520 employees.

A company spokeswoman said today the firm, hit by a coronavirus downturn in the aerospace market, was proposing to reduce its activities at the Bankfield site. This will impact approximately 350 employees.

Under the proposals, the site would no longer manufacture wide chord fan blades for Rolls-Royce’s newer Trent engines by autumn 2023.

A technical support centre and new product development hub will remain at Bankfield, as well as manufacture of blades for older engine types.

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The company is also exploring options to consolidate Ghyll Brow into Bankfield.

Its Static Compressor Assembly Modules plant located at Bankfield remains under review.

Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson said he had been in contact with the firm this morning and as these were only proposals he was hoping an alternative solution could be found

He said: "If this happens it will be devastating for Pendle. As these are currently only proposals, there is some hope that we can get the company to change their mind, so I am actively working with Ministers to see what can be done.

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"I was told by the company that this was an internal announcement today, before them going public tomorrow. I was therefore deeply disappointed to see a press release from the company about this to local media before all local employees had been told."

In June, Rolls-Royce announced it was to cut a further 235 jobs from its Barnoldswick site having been adversely affected by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. These cuts were the latest in several rounds of redundancies from the company's two Barnoldswick sites

The firm said it was now consulting with trade unions and employee representatives and would do everything it could to avoid compulsory redundancies in this latest setback for the beleaguered site.

A Rolls-Royce spokeswoman said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has created a historic shock in civil aviation which will take several years to recover.

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“Demand for our civil aerospace products and services has fallen significantly and we’ve had to take difficult, but necessary decisions to position ourselves for the future.

“Today we have told our employees in Barnoldswick that we are proposing to reduce our activities at Bankfield, which will no longer manufacture wide chord fan blades for our newer Trent engines, although a technical support centre and new product development hub will remain.

“We are also exploring options to consolidate work at Ghyll Brow into Bankfield.

“We are now consulting with trade unions and employee representatives.

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“Today’s news will understandably be very worrying for everyone working in Barnoldswick, and our number one priority is to provide support to our employees and their families.