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Thursday, 18 October, 2001, 12:19 GMT 13:19 UK
Unions warn Rolls over 'panic' cutbacks
Rolls-Royce engine engineers at work
Demand for engines fell after 11 September
Union leaders have warned aircraft engine maker Rolls-Royce against making "panic" job cuts in response to the global aviation crisis.

Rolls-Royce is expected to announce soon that it will slash between 3,000 and 4,000 jobs.

Rolls-Royce must hold its nerve and not take short term decisions on redundancies

Sir Ken Jackson
But Sir Ken Jackson, general secretary of the Amalgamated Engineering & Electrical Union, said: "Rolls-Royce must hold its nerve and not take short term decisions on redundancies.

"Any panic job cuts could seriously jeopardise the long-term skills base of a great British company with a bright future."

Anxiety in Derby

The lay-offs announcement, which had been expected to come on Thursday, will now be made on Friday, Rolls-Royce sources told the BBC.

A Rolls-Royce spokesman added: "It's a very detailed process and when we have assessed all the information we will inform the employees."

Mick Lomax, of the MSF union, said: "It is a very unclear situation. There is a lot of anxiety in Derby and the rest of Rolls-Royce."

Any job losses are expected to be focused on the company's plant in Derby where about 13,000 people work.

Rolls-Royce plants in Bristol, and East Kilbride and Hillington in Scotland are also thought to be at risk of substantial job losses.

The cuts are to come in addition to 2,000 jobs slashed in the summer of 2000.

Fall in demand

It is believed that a sharp fall in orders for aircraft following the 11 September's attacks has forced the company to take the radical step.

Many airlines were suffering downturns in business before the attacks, as demand contracted in line with the US-led global economic slowdown.

Rolls-Royce makes engines for a wide range of commercial aircraft including the new long-range Airbus A340 and the Airbus A380 super-jumbo, which has yet to go into commercial operation.

Both Airbus and rival aircraft maker Boeing have confirmed that many airlines have asked for delays in the delivery of aircraft and that new orders have fallen sharply.

Rolls-Royce's US competitors Pratt & Whitney and General Electric have already cut about 2,500 jobs each.

Rolls-Royce shares were 6% lower at 131p in afternoon trade in London.

See also:

18 Oct 01 | Business
Profile: Rolls-Royce
18 Oct 01 | Scotland
Union plea over Scots aero jobs
18 Oct 01 | Business
Qantas bucks plane order slump
17 Oct 01 | Business
United Airlines 'may perish'
14 Oct 01 | Business
Rolls-Royce 'to axe 3,500 jobs'
09 Oct 01 | Business
Airline losses seen trebling
23 Aug 01 | Business
Rolls-Royce profits dip
02 Mar 01 | Business
Rolls-Royce shares jump 12%
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