Page last updated at 15:26 GMT, Tuesday, 15 September 2009 16:26 UK

BAE Systems plans 1,116 job cuts

BAE employees unsurprised by job cut announcement

Defence giant BAE Systems says it is planning to cut 1,116 jobs and close an aircraft factory in Cheshire.

The firm said it aimed to shut the Woodford plant at the end of 2012, with the loss of 630 jobs.

A further 205 positions are to go at BAE's Samlesbury site, and 170 at its Warton facility, both in Lancashire.

In addition, 111 jobs will go in Farnborough. BAE said the planned cuts followed "a detailed review of its current and future business levels".

'Commercial matter'

The Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions (CSEU) said the news was "bitterly disappointing".

We knew it was going to shut, this has just made it official. We will still carry on and build the aircraft... and we will carry on doing it to the best of our abilities
Craig Hopkinson, a site manager at the Cheshire plant

"The CSEU will work constructively with the company to keep redundancies to a minimum and ensure no compulsory redundancies," said the union's general secretary Hugh Scullion.

"The CSEU believe there is still an opportunity to extend production at the Woodford site."

BAE said the Woodford site was likely to close at the end of 2012, following the completion of its contract to build the latest version of the RAF's Nimrod maritime patrol aircraft.

"It has been clear since 2003 that the Woodford site had little future beyond the end of the Nimrod MRA4 production, and the workforce has been kept informed since that time," said the company.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said that while "job losses are always to be regretted and are most unfortunate for those affected", BAE's announcement was "a commercial matter for the company".

Kevin Taylor, BAE's managing director of military air solutions, said the company would work with employees "to explore ways of mitigating these potential job losses".

"Whilst we regret having to make this announcement, we have to ensure we are the right size and shape to remain competitive and meet our customers' requirements for the future."

'Not unexpected'

The Woodford factory has a rich history of aircraft manufacture, building more than 4,000 Lancaster bombers during World War II, and the delta-wing Vulcan bomber in the 1950s.

"My father worked here before me, and I have been here for 29 years, so it is a sad day," said Andy Jackson, a logistics operator.

"But the announcement is not unexpected, we have been building up to it for about a year now.

"It is not like we will be thrown out of work instantly, we have got several years to plan our future."

BAE's latest job cuts announcement comes five months after the firm said it was trimming 500 positions and closing sites in Telford, Leeds and Guildford.

BAE revealed in July that its pension deficit had widened sharply to £3.1bn in the six months to 30 June.

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