Page last updated at 19:23 GMT, Monday, 14 December 2009

Warhead firm 'could cut 900 jobs'

Aldermaston Atomic Weapons Establishment
AWE is the headquarters of Britain's nuclear development programme

A union says it fears 900 jobs could be axed at a company which manufactures nuclear warheads in Berkshire.

Aldermaston Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) provides the warheads for Trident, the submarine-launched missile system.

Bob King, of Prospect, claimed between 400 and 900 job losses were mentioned in management documents.

The firm said it was cutting 50 jobs but would not speculate on whether further redundancies were possible.

Changes ahead

AWE said in a statement: [The company] is currently carrying out a review of the ways in which the company assets and skills can be used most effectively to meet programme requirements.

"A number of changes are being made to ensure that AWE has the right skills and capabilities in place.

"At this stage, the review has identified a requirement for about 50 redundancies from within a range of corporate support functions and activities.

"While the review is still taking place it is not possible to speculate on the scale of any further redundancies that may prove necessary."

It added that it had been talking to unions.

Mr King said: "What we have been aware of are documents circulating that suggest they [the management] want to get rid of 400-600 staff.

"Or even the 900 figure, which was mentioned in a briefing that has gone out in the last 24 to 48 hours."

AWE employs about 4,500 staff including scientists, engineers, technicians, and safety specialists.

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