Page last updated at 14:52 GMT, Thursday, 21 May 2009 15:52 UK

Anger over 400 Qinetiq job cuts

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Qinetiq was floated on the stock market in February 2006

Union officials have reacted with anger to plans by defence research firm Qinetiq to cut 400 jobs.

The move comes despite the company posting a 22% increase in profits.

Qinetiq, which has major sites in Worcestershire, Hampshire and Wiltshire, blamed a £38m income fall in its defence research market last year.

The Prospect union said it may take the firm to an employment tribunal claiming they had been announced without any consultation.

Union members among the company's 7,000-strong UK workforce are to be balloted on strike action over a planned pay freeze next year.

David Luxton, Prospect national officer, said: "Our members are outraged that their hard work and intellectual excellence, which has contributed to Qinetiq's ability to achieve a 22% increase in profits, has been rewarded first with a pay freeze and now job cuts.

Our members are already furious that the company imposed a pay freeze for 2009 while still paying bonuses to directors and senior managers
David Luxton, Prospect national officer

"While the UK business may have been less profitable than overseas work, there is underlying revenue growth and profitability.

"Our members are already furious that the company imposed a pay freeze for 2009 while still paying bonuses to directors and senior managers."

The union staged a protest on Thursday outside the company's offices, with officials holding up large blank cheques.

Qinetiq, which has major sites in Farnborough, Malvern and Boscombe Down, said it needed to cut jobs as part of a widespread review of its UK cost-base following cuts in the Ministry of Defence's research budget.

The group is upgrading Chinook helicopters and training soldiers as well as testing weapons.

A Qinetiq spokesman said: "Overall the UK business has not grown at all in the last year and we have seen a 23% fall in income from our traditional defence research market - a fall of some £38m.

"That is why it is imperative we continue to transition our UK business from pure research to technology based solutions and services."



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