Union chief slams Rolls-Royce plans to merge Barnoldswick factories and move work abroad

Rolls-Royce’s announcement today that it is planning to consolidate its Barnoldswick site and move work abroad has been slammed by Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union.

Rolls-Royce, Barnoldswick
Rolls-Royce, Barnoldswick

Rolls-Royce has two sites in Barnoldswick – Bankfield and Ghyll Brow – employing more than 500 people.

The company is considering incorporating Ghyll Brow into Bankfield as well as discontinuing production of wide chord blades for newer Trent engines in the town by 2023, putting 350 jobs at risk on top of 200 redundancies announced in June.

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

Unite national officer for aerospace Rhys McCarthy said: “These plans are a horrible blow for staff, particularly as Rolls-Royce is proposing to abandon production in the UK and move work to Singapore and Germany. Unite will leave no stone unturned to prevent these sites being closed and jobs being moved abroad.

“For Rolls-Royce to lay out plans to lay off the majority of staff at its Barnoldswick sites whilst moving work to Singapore is a complete betrayal of a skilled and loyal workforce. In 2009, staff were assured that the production of Trent engine wide chord blades would continue at Barnoldswick despite another plant being opened in Singapore – an assurance we now know was not worth the paper it was written on.

“There is no use in trying to deny that the coronavirus pandemic has not had a devastating impact on air transport and by extension the aerospace sector. In other countries, however, steps have been taken to ensure their post-pandemic futures and to protect jobs. Yesterday, the German government confirmed that it will be extending its short time working scheme, its version of the UK’s job retention scheme, until March 2022.

“If a similar scheme, in which the wages of workers working less hours are subsidised by the government to prevent vital personnel and skills being lost, was adopted in the UK, the risk of job losses at Rolls-Royce, and many other companies, would be minimised.”