Rolls-Royce to axe almost 400 jobs at Ansty

AERO engine manufacturer and defence contractor Rolls-Royce is to close its UK defence operations in Coventry.

Government defence cutbacks including the scrapping of the Harrier jump jet are thought to be the main reason behind the decision, which will mean the loss of 378 jobs.

The news is a further blow to the city’s industry, which is still reeling from the collapse of black cab manufacturer London Taxi International – part of Manganese Bronze Holdings – last year.

Ian Waddell, national officer for aerospace and shipbuilding at the Unite union, said: “The blame for the loss of these highly skilled jobs in the key defence sector lies with the government and its short-sighted determination to ram through massive spending cuts in the defence budget.

“Once again, Unite calls for a coherent defence industrial strategy to be drawn up as matter of urgency to safeguard jobs and a defence industry at which Britain excels. This is vital – otherwise more high-skilled jobs will be lost, perhaps forever.

“There is a very long timescale for consultation and implementation, so we hope that compulsory redundancies will be avoided. However, the underlying reason for the job losses is the government’s defence spending cuts announced a couple of years ago.”

He said the scrapping of the Harrier fleet had led to redundancies at the Ansty factory. Meanwhile, work from Germany will be transferred to Rolls-Royce’s site at Bristol.

“Unite will be seeking an early meeting with management to discuss the implications for our members and we will be taking every step to safeguard their employment now and in the future,” he added.