Anger as BAE set to axe 1,300 jobs

Defence giant BAE Systems delivered a pre-Christmas jobs blow yesterday by announcing plans to axe about 1,300 posts.

The move, which followed the Government's defence review and its decision to scrap the Nimrod and Harrier jets, was condemned by union leaders.

The job losses will hit a number of sites, including Samlesbury and Warton in Lancashire, Farnborough in Hampshire, Yeovil, RAF Cottesmore and RAF Kinloss.

The company also revealed it would be consulting unions over potentially closing its Woodford site in Cheshire earlier than had been previously announced.

Kevin Taylor, managing director of BAE Systems Military Air Solutions, said: "Since the publication of the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) in October we have taken time to understand the implications for our business.

"We have recently received termination for customer convenience notices for the Nimrod MRA4 and Harrier contracts and this has regrettably led us to initiating consultation regarding potential job losses.

"Today's announcement is designed to ensure we remain competitive as we actively pursue a number of opportunities for our other products and services both in the UK and internationally.

"Military Air Solutions remains a sustainable business with a strong business plan. I appreciate this is difficult news for our people and we are committed to working with employees and their representatives to explore ways of mitigating the potential job losses."

Bernie Hamilton, national officer of the Unite union, said: "This is a tragedy for the workforce and for Britain. The coalition Government's Christmas present to over a thousand skilled workers who support Britain's armed forces is the sack.

"BAE's workers are urging the Government to think again and reverse this decision. The coalition are denying the UK armed forces vital equipment to defend this nation while families across the country worry about their futures."