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Thursday, 18 October, 2001, 09:26 GMT 10:26 UK
Union plea over Scots aero jobs
Rolls engines
Terrorism has taken its toll on the aerospace industry
Rolls-Royce is being urged not to implement further cutbacks to its Scottish workforce in the wake of recent terrorist attacks on the United States.

The company is expected to announce between 3,000 and 4,000 job losses among its 13,000-strong UK workforce on Friday.

About 3,000 people work for Rolls-Royce in Scotland and fears are growing that staff north of the border will be asked to bear their share of the planned cutbacks.

The MSF Union in Scotland has called on the company and government to set up a task force to examine the future of the industry and look at ways of avoiding widespread job losses.

Both of the major plants have been fighting for a number of years now to try and prove to the company that the company's policy has been flawed

John Wall, MSF
The expected cuts have been prompted by a global downturn in air travel following the terrorist attacks in the US on 11 September.

Rolls-Royce's main UK plant in Derby, which employs 13,000 people, is expected to bear the brunt of any reduction in the workforce.

But union bosses in Scotland are worried that redundancies will also be implemented at the company's aerospace plants in East Kilbride and Hillington.

John Wall from the Manufacturing, Science and Finance (MSF) union told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme that he feared for workers north of the border.

He said: "What we are hoping is that the company doesn't continue down the road that they've followed for the last couple of years, which seems to be a twin track policy of slashing the workforce and in fact out sourcing as many of its components as it possibly can."

Company assets

Mr Wall said that "speculation has been rife" about the future of nearly 3,000 employees in Scotland and all of them were vulnerable in the current climate.

"Both of the major plants have been fighting for a number of years now to try and prove to the company that the company's policy has been flawed," he said.

"The company's greatest asset has always been its workforce - the inventiveness of its workforce and the commitment of its workforce.

Rolls-Royce has two aerospace plants in Scotland
"But of late they have been entirely demoralised and demotivated by the company's strategy of cutting back every single year on that workforce and outsourcing more and more of the components.

"If, in fact, that continues then we will inevitably end up with a badge in the UK and much of the product actually being made outside the UK."

Mr Wall said he hoped the company would become involved in a "genuine partnership" with its workforce during these difficult times but suggested its track record pointed "in the opposite direction".

He acknowledged that conditions were difficult for any company in the aerospace industry and described the events of 11 September as a "watershed".

He also called on the government to join aerospace companies and their workers in a "tri-partite task force" to save a sector which he described as the "the jewel in the crown" of British industry.

John Wall, MSF
"Both of the major plants have been fighting for a number of years"
See also:

18 Oct 01 | Business
Rolls-Royce 'to sack thousands'
03 Jan 01 | Scotland
Rolls-Royce lands plane deal
02 Jan 01 | Business
Rolls-Royce in Vickers sale
15 Dec 00 | Business
Virgin places 'superjumbo' order
12 Dec 00 | Business
'Superjumbo' will be built
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