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AEROSPACE giant Rolls-Royce is to axe around 4,600 jobs, despite recording pre-tax profits of £4.9 billion last year.
The Unite union immediately called on the company to extend a policy of “no compulsory redundancies” to cover all workers whose jobs are threatened.
And Labour shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey MP said the sackings could hit local economies and deprive manufacturing of some of its most skilled workers.
Rolls-Royce said it plans to shed 4,600 jobs as part of a “restructuring” exercise in which five core production units will be cut to three.
The car company employs 55,000 workers worldwide, of whom 26,000 are in Britain, including 15,700 in Derby.
In 2001, the company axed 6,000 workers, including 1,000 contractors.
The new job losses will mainly hit managers and support workers.
Unite warned the firm against cutting “too deep and too fast.”
Assistant general secretary for aerospace Steve Turner said: “This announcement will be deeply unsettling for Rolls-Royce workers and their families and could have a dire economic impact on local communities reliant on Roll-Royce jobs.
“There is a real danger that Rolls-Royce will cut too deep and too fast with these jobs cuts, which could ultimately damage the smooth running of the company and see vital skills and experience lost.
“Over the coming days Unite will be working with Rolls-Royce, relevant agencies and other employers to find people affected alternative employment and to retain skills in the aerospace sector.”
Ms Long-Bailey MP called on the company to support employees and help devise “a reinvigorated local industrial strategy.”
She said: “Despite making a profit of £4.9bn last year, this restructuring means over 4,000 people will lose their jobs, which is of major economic significance both locally and nationally.
“There is a real risk that redundancies of this scale will have a detrimental effect not just on the lives of workers and their families but on the future of skills in this much-needed sector and the health of the local economy.”
“It is also imperative that the company honours previous commitments to no compulsory redundancies."
Peter Lazenby is Morning Star northern reporter.
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