250 jobs safeguarded at GE’s Rugby site after MoD brings forward equipment order

Around 250 jobs have been safeguarded at General Electric’s Rugby site after workers were told that the Ministry of Defence had signed off on an order for the second batch Type 26 Frigates motors to be built at the site.

The MoD’s order secures the immediate future of Rugby site, which employs over 250 people making power conversion units.

GE had previously announced the site’s closure with its work being relocated to Nancy in France by the end of 2019.

Today’s news follows eight months of campaigning by Unite the Union to draw the government’s attention to the need to secure the future of the GE site.

Unite has urged the government to build on today’s announcement and help remove the treat of redundancies still hanging over the world leading site and secure its long-term future by committing to build the Royal Navy’s new fleet Solid Support ships in the UK with UK steel.

Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: “If it had not been for the tenacity of Unite’s shop stewards and our members then we could have been looking at confirmation that GE’s Rugby site would close and its work shipped abroad. Instead this world class workforce, whose skills and expertise has built motors which power all the Royal Navy’s warships, can look forward to working on the second batch of Type 26 Frigates.

“Unite’s priority is now to reduce the number of potential redundancies at the site and secure its long-term future. We urge the government to build on today’s announcement and ensure vital skills and knowledge are not lost for a generation by working with us to ensure the site has a pipeline of work for years to come.

“With news that two of the international bidders for the Navy’s solid support ships have withdrawn, this must mean guaranteeing that these new ships are built in the UK, powered by motors from the UK and made with UK steel.

“Anything less would be a betrayal of the UK’s global status as a leader in shipbuilding and manufacturing and the communities these industries sustain.”

A GE spokesperson said: “Today, GE Power shared with employees the outcome of its local consultation process regarding the Power Conversion Leicester Road site in Rugby, which will now remain open but with reduced manufacturing and related activities.

“We remain committed to supporting all those impacted to help identify other career opportunities, whether externally or within another GE business.”