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by Derek Kotz
NINE weeks of strike action at Rolls-Royce’s Lanarkshire plant has rewarded workers with a “ground-breaking” deal, saving 350 jobs.
Unite the union confirmed yesterday that it has accepted a deal after months of campaigning to keep the plant open.
The agreement, supported “overwhelmingly” by the workforce, delivers a 10-year manufacturing guarantee for the historic site with a minimum headcount of 350 workers, and the creation of a “centre of excellence” for training engineers to meet the challenges of the climate emergency.
A two-year no-compulsory-redundancy agreement will facilitate discussions on the development of zero-carbon technologies, advanced manufacturing processes, synthetic fuels and green technologies.
The company announced last summer that Barnoldswick’s remaining production would be moved to Singapore, sparking a dogged campaign to save the historic site, home to the World War II Lancaster bomber and birthplace of the Frank Whittle jet engine.
“Today is a day for celebration at the Barnoldswick plant and their community,” said Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner, who led the negotiating team.
“They demonstrated real solidarity in the face of a genuine threat, stood together and have won a future. True local heroes who have inspired a generation.”
Mr Turner blasted the government’s refusal to support the workforce and failure to develop a strategy to support and invest in the growth and transition of the economy.
“Ministers were happy to talk about ‘levelling up,’ but that’s all it was — talk,” Mr Turner said.
A Rolls-Royce spokesman said that the company was pleased to have agreed a way forward with Unite, which included “commitment to the long-term future of the site.”
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