Mayor calls on government to honour Rolls-Royce contracts to secure jobs

The West of England’s Mayor Dan Norris has written to the Defence Secretary seeking guarantees that the Government is committed to two contracts with Rolls-Royce.

Following a call with Rolls-Royce on Wednesday, Norris wrote to Grant Shapps asking him to confirm that ministers would see through the Tempest and Eurofighter Typhoon contracts awarded to the engineering giant.

Some of Rolls-Royce’s 3,400-strong workforce in the West are carrying out tests on the UK’s next-generation supersonic stealth combat aircraft, Tempest.

Others at the Filton site are providing maintenance support for the EJ200 engine as the Typhoon continues to form the backbone of the RAF’s fighter jet fleet.

Noris wrote: “Following a call with Rolls-Royce, I gather that the security of the workforce at Bristol depends in part on the government’s commitment to continuing with these contracts and not ending or curtailing them.

“Therefore, I am calling on you and your department to guarantee the government’s spending commitment to the Tempest and Eurofighter Typhoon contracts which will help to save Great British jobs in my region.”

Norris spoke to Rolls-Royce on Wednesday following the company’s announcement that it plans to axe up to 2,500 jobs globally.

“The news from Rolls-Royce is deeply concerning for the 3,400 West of England-based staff,” said Norris.

The Metro Mayor added: “I urge them to avoid compulsory redundancies at all costs and to focus on excellence over short-term savings.

“We are known as a key base for world-class engineering and the company has a big economic and social impact on the greater Bristol region.”

Rolls-Royce said the redundancies were necessary to create a “more efficient and effective” company.

The engineering giant, which employs 42,000 people globally and around 17,000 in the UK, was hit hard by the pandemic when air travel was grounded for months.

Rolls-Royce did not give details of where the job cuts will fall and said it needed to engage with unions before making further announcements.