British defense equipment firm BAE Systems announced on Sept. 15 that it will axe 1,116 jobs in Britain and close a key facility in northwestern England.
"Following a detailed review of its current and future business levels, BAE Systems has announced it has started consultation regarding the potential closure of one of its UK sites and job cuts at another three, with the loss of 1,116 jobs," the group said.
"Under this program, the Woodford site in Cheshire will close at the end of 2012, on completion of the Nimrod MRA4 production contract and with the loss of 630 jobs."
BAE added that another 375 jobs will be shed at two sites in Lancashire, northern England, while 111 positions will also be axed at a facility in Farnborough, Hampshire, in the south.
BAE added that the Woodford site had been unable to secure new orders for Nimrod aircraft. "It has been clear since 2003 that the Woodford site had little future beyond the end of Nimrod MRA4 production, and the workforce has been kept informed since that time," BAE said. "Despite strenuous efforts to achieve further Nimrod production work there has been none forthcoming. It is intended that there will be a phased run-down of the site in line with the production program."
However, trade unions reacted angrily to the news amid rising unemployment in recession-struck Britain. "This is bitterly disappointing news for the staff and for the local communities which rely on these jobs," said Hugh Scullion, General Secretary of the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions.
"The CSEU will work constructively with the company to keep redundancies to a minimum and ensure no compulsory redundancies. We believe there is still an opportunity to extend production at the Woodford site."
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009