Thursday, June 24, 1999 Published at 15:44 GMT 16:44 UK
Business: The Company File
BAe cuts 2,200 jobs
BAe built the RAF Harriers used in Nato's bombing of Yugoslavia
British Aerospace (BAe) is to cut 2,200 jobs in the UK.
Eight-hundred jobs will be lost with the closure of the Dunsfold facility in Surrey where the Harrier jump-jet was made until last year.
All the RAF Harriers used by Nato in the recent operation in the Balkans were built at Dunsfold.
Other redundancies are being sought at Chadderton in Greater Manchester, at Brough near Hull in East Yorkshire, at Prestwick in Scotland and at BAe headquarters at Farnborough in Hampshire.
Anger in the Commons
The cuts have been denounced as "incomprehensible" in the House of Commons. The Labour MP for Pendle, Gordon Prentice, said the Wharton plant was the "lifeblood" of his constituency.
He said he could not understand why the jobs were being cut when BAe had received a huge boost with the decision to produce the new Eurofighter jet.
A BAe spokesman said talks would begin immediately with staff and unions at Dunsfold about redeployment at other sites across the UK.
"New build production of the Harrier finished last year. Since then the company has been using Dunsfold to get involved in maintenance and the upgrade of Harriers," he said.
"That work is now reducing quite significantly and it is no longer financially viable to keep the site open," he added.
Efficiency and productivity improvements mean that BAe's big project, the new Eurofighter Typhoon, will require only 18 months to build compared to 36 months for its Tornado predecessor.
BAe chief executive John Weston said the company had orders which at the end of last year stood at over £28bn.
Union leaders were seeking urgent talks with the company to discuss the scale of the cutback.
"They have made enormous strides in productivity in recent years. The Harrier is the last fighter built solely in Britain and it is a shame this is happening.
"Strategically we need to keep capabilities to build planes like the Harrier in this country."
A spokesman for Surrey County Council said the announcement had come as a "deep shock" adding: "We are extremely concerned at the loss of high-quality, high-tech jobs - this is a blow to the county and the wider region."
The Company File Contents