Defense contractor BAE Systems has just dealt a major blow to the U.K. manufacturing sector, following today’s announcement that it will be cutting nearly 2,000 jobs.
Its revised organisational structure effectively will “remove management layers,” including the Platforms & Services (P&S) U.K. and P&S International operating groups. Separately, BAE Systems announced proposed reductions to its military air and information and maritime services workforce “to align capacity more closely with current and expected orders.”
“The organisational changes…accelerate our evolution to a more streamlined, de-layered organisation, with a sharper competitive edge and a renewed focus on technology,” BAE Systems Chief Executive Officer Charles Woodburn said in a statement.
“Separately, we are also announcing actions at some of our U.K. sites to align our workforce capacity more closely with near-term demand and enhance our competitive position to secure new business,” Woodburn continued. “Those actions are necessary and the right thing to do for our company, but unfortunately include proposed redundancies at a number of operations. I recognise this will be difficult news for some of our employees, and we are committed to do everything we can to support those affected.”
The revised organisational structure of the group’s operations (which excludes U.S.-managed subsidiary BAE Systems, Inc.) will take effect from 1 January 2018. Over the next three years, BAE Systems said it proposes to cut up to 1,400 roles within its military air business across five sites, in addition to a workforce reduction of 375 job cuts in maritime services, and another 150 job cuts at its applied intelligence business.
The full breakdown of job losses and locations announced by BAE on 10 October are as follows:
Warton and Samlesbury, Lancashire: 750 proposed redundancies/job cuts;
Brough, East Yorkshire: 400 proposed redundancies/job cuts;
RAF Marham and RAF Leeming: 245 proposed redundancies/job cuts;
Portsmouth and Solent: 340 proposed redundancies/job cuts;
London, Guildford and other applied intelligence locations: 150 proposed redundancies/job cuts; and
Other U.K. locations: 30 proposed redundancies/job cuts.
Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy, vowed to fight for the job cuts, which the union called a “betrayal” of a loyal workforce and “devastatingly short sighted.”
Unite added that the move would harm U.K. manufacturing. It accused the U.K. government of hollowing out the U.K.’s sovereign defence capability by spending increasing amounts of the defence budget in factories overseas and called on government ministers to take back control of the U.K.’s defence and invest U.K. taxes in the country by buying British designed and built defence equipment.
Unite estimates that by 2020, 25 per cent of the U.K.’s defence spend will be benefiting American factories and defense companies such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin.