BAE Systems to announce nearly 3,000 job cuts

BBC's John Moylan: "BAE systems is facing a gap in orders"

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Defence contractor BAE Systems is to formally announce later that it is cutting nearly 3,000 jobs in the UK.

Brough in East Yorkshire will see 900 jobs go, Warton in Lancashire will lose 822 posts and Samlesbury, also in Lancashire, will lose 565.

A further 655 jobs will also be lost at smaller sites, taking the final figure to 2,942, the BBC understands.

Unions have blamed defence cuts for the job losses and called the news a "hammer blow" to the industry.

BAE would not comment on the job cuts, but said it had reviewed operations to ensure it was performing "efficiently".

The company said in a statement on Monday: "Whilst there has been a lot of media speculation it has always been our intention to communicate the results of the review to employees as a priority, and this will take place on Tuesday, 27 September."

On Tuesday, at three BAE sites, workers will be told the grim news.

Workers may well be shocked, having assumed that the uncertainty of the government's defence review was behind them. But there is a longer-term problem of fewer Typhoons being ordered than expected. BAE is hoping to win new export deals shortly to countries including Malaysia, India, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Japan.

That means BAE cannot afford to lose too many skilled staff, and will probably protect its apprenticeship programme. But, of course, the workforce will fear the worst until the official announcement is made.

The government will then be asked what it can do to mitigate the damage to the economy. These are exactly the kind of jobs and skills that ministers are trying to nurture.

Labour MP Diana Johnson said of the expected job cuts at Brough: "There are real problems if we lose this kind of skilled job in the area around Hull."

Job cuts at BAE Systems in Warton would have a huge impact on the local economy, said Fylde MP Mark Menzies.

"Everyone knows somebody who works at BAE Systems," the Conservative MP said. "It will also have a huge impact on businesses from local hotels to taxis."

Shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy called for a fast response from ministers.

"The defence industry is vital to the UK, supporting both our forces on the front line and the wider UK economy," he said.

Speculation about the job cuts has been rife for days and unions representing BAE staff are angry about the way their members have been treated by the company.

"They've not been in our opinion honest and open with the information," said Dave Ogilsby, of the GMB union.

"We should have known first," he said. "We're absolutely disgusted by the way they've actually treated us."

Paul McCarthy, regional officer of the GMB, said it was a "disgrace" that staff had heard about the job cuts via a leak to the media.

"We are going to ask the company to launch a formal investigation to establish who leaked this information," he said.

The Ministry of Defence said it had no comment.

BAE Systems currently employs just under 100,000 staff globally, of which 40,000 are in the UK.

Last December, the company said it was planning 1,400 job losses across all operations, including sites in Hampshire, Greater Manchester and Somerset.

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