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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 January 2008, 08:24 GMT
BAE factory losses 'a major blow'
New Pinzgauer vehicles will be made in South Africa
The loss of 76 jobs at a military vehicle factory in Surrey is a major blow to the area and could not have come at a worse time, an MP has said.

BAE Systems is to end production of the Pinzgauer I at two sites, in Guildford, and Fareham, Hampshire, with the total potential loss of up to 102 jobs.

MP for Guildford, Anne Milton, said 76 people in the town would be affected.

BAE Systems said it would make every effort to offer employees jobs elsewhere in the company.

Pinzgauer was acquired by BAE in August 2007, as part of its takeover of Armor Holdings.

I am extremely sorry that this decision by BAE will have such a big impact on local people
Anne Milton

It announced in September that a new generation of the all-terrain wheeled vehicle, the Pinzgauer II, would be built in Guildford and Fareham.

But on Tuesday it said the Pinzgauer II production would be moved to South Africa.

The Guildford and Fareham factories would close but a support business at the Surrey site would keep a core team of 25.

BAE managing director Graeme Rumbol briefed Ms Milton on the implications for local people.

She said: "I am extremely sorry that this decision by BAE will have such a big impact on local people working in Guildford.

"I have stressed to company bosses the need for redundancy packages that reflect the uncertain times their workers will now be living in.

"As we brace ourselves for a difficult economic period, this is a major blow for local people and couldn't have come at a worse moment."

BAE said its South African business had the infrastructure to continue to develop, manufacture and market the vehicles.

"BAE Systems will enter consultation with employees as soon as feasible on these plans," it said.

"Where possible, every effort will be made to mitigate any job losses through redeployment of employees within BAE Systems.

"To help employees seeking suitable alternative employment, an outplacement support service will be established."

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