£2.5bn aircraft deal won’t stop redundancies

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A £2.5bn deal to sell aircraft to Oman will not save the jobs of 120 workers threatened with compulsory redundancy in East Yorkshire, it emerged yesterday.

The contract for 12 Typhoon and eight Hawk aircraft was welcomed by Prime Minister David Cameron, who will visit the Middle Eastern state today.

It was hailed as “excellent news” for both BAE Systems and the Eurofighter Typhoon consortium, sustaining thousands of high technology and engineering jobs across sites in Warton, Lancashire, Samlesbury, Lancashire and at Brough.

But the defence giant confirmed it wouldn’t save around 120 jobs at Brough, which are threatened with compulsory redundancy early next year.

Works convenor Roy Cartwright said the announcement left a bitter taste.

He said the Oman order would give shopfloor workers another 12 months, on top of 18 months work provided by a deal with Saudi Arabia earlier this year.

“It leaves a real bitter taste in the mouth. This is the second order they have announced since they said manufacturing was ending at the site. We should have been building 30 aircraft – but they have just left us with the bits. For the ones who survive the redundancy it does give them another year, but there’s still 120 who will be going out the gate,” he added.

“The Hawks will be built at Warton and Samlesbury – they are the sites that build the Typhoon – all the manufacturing and assembly will be done in the North West.”

Of around 600 workers left on the site, just under 150 are on the shopfloor, he said.

A spokesman for the company said they had mitigated 899 potential jobs losses at Brough to 120, with some taking voluntary redundancy or redeployment. He said: “All the planning we have done at Brough will mean that Brough is the right size and shape for us to deliver this contract for Oman – unfortunately it will not save any of the roles that are currently under threat. But for all the remaining jobs, it does help sustain those roles for those people.”

Aircraft manufacture begins in 2014 with delivery expected in 2017. Before his arrival in Muscat, Mr Cameron dismissed concerns about Britain selling arms in the region. He said: “Every country in the world has a right to self-defence and I’m determined to put Britain’s first-class defence industry at the forefront of this market, supporting 300,000 jobs across the country.”