Rolls-Royce swings axe on West Midlands jobs

Around 300 jobs are set to be cut at Rolls-Royce’s West Midlands plants, the manufacturer has confirmed.

The firm’s Solihull factory will see 175 roles axed, while a further 90 will go and Rolls-Royce’s Ross Ceramics premises in Derbyshire and Stoke and another 65 workers are facing redundancy in Ansty.

Yesterday, the Derby-headquartered manufacturer said that 1,500 jobs would be slashed across its East Midlands sites.

The news comes after last month’s announcement that the firm would be cutting 9,000 jobs worldwide as part of a cost-cutting measure after the collapse in air travel brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Rolls-Royce has now confirmed that it has introduced a “voluntary severance” scheme in order to meet cut the roles.

The full list of jobs being axed is:

– Derby and the East Midlands – 1,500
– Solihull – 175
– Denby/Trentham (Ross Ceramics) – 90
– Ansty – 65
– Inchinnan, Scotland – 700
– Rotherham – 100
– Washington – 50
– London Heathrow – 50
– Barnoldswick – 200
– Bristol (Civil) – 50

Chris Cholerton, Rolls-Royce’s president of Civil Aerospace, said: “Following constructive talks with trade union and employee representatives, we have opened voluntary severance to all Civil Aerospace employees in the UK.

“Offering voluntary severance is an important step as we resize our business to adapt to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the aviation industry over the next few years.

“Due to the unprecedented impact of the crisis on our Civil Aerospace business, we are facing changes to the business on a scale we have not seen for 50 years.

“The depth and breadth of the crisis means we have to both radically and swiftly reduce the size of our business.

“Sadly, this means that Rolls-Royce Civil Aerospace will be losing up to 8,000 roles across the globe -talented people who have worked hard to establish our world-leading position, people who share our pioneering spirit to be the best at what we do and people who have spent their entire working lives building this business.

“In Derby and Nottinghamshire it is likely that we will see around 1,500 roles impacted this year.

“This is going to be very tough for everyone, but we have to ensure Rolls-Royce can thrive for future generations. Derby is at the heart of our business. It will continue to be, despite the challenges we are facing. We continue to work with Derby’s Economic Recovery Taskforce and are providing help and resources for employees who are affected.

“We have come through crises in the past to achieve amazing things. Taking action now means we will be able to do so again. I’m confident we will.”

Rolls-Royce has said the job cuts will save it £1.3bn a year.

Unite national officer for the aerospace sector, Rhys McCarthy, said: “[This] announcement by Rolls-Royce is another warning sign that the UK is in serious danger of losing its leading position in aerospace, in addition to losing thousands of skilled jobs.

“Unite understands the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact on the aviation and aerospace industries, with the likely scenario of a recovery to passenger demand for long-haul, wide-bodied jets, which Rolls Royce makes the engines for, not expected to recover to pre-pandemic levels until 2024/2025.

“This is why Unite has negotiated with Rolls-Royce the opening of a voluntary severance scheme across the company to mitigate any potential future redundancies and buy sometime so that Rolls-Royce can develop the Plan B that our members and other stakeholders so desperately need.

“The company’s defence and power divisions provide some protection in the short-term from further sweeping job losses, but this company urgently needs to develop a diversification plan to fill the gap in its civil aerospace division. It also has to move to bring new technologies to the market, building on the huge assets and skills it has in the UK.

“The UK government also has a key role in supporting diversification for the aviation and aerospace industries. We need them to be bold with levels of state investment and support last seen in the post-war period.

“More widely, the UK needs to develop a survival and recovery strategy that includes an aircraft scrappage scheme so that more environmentally friendly aircraft, wings and engines that the UK produces can be brought into service by airlines.

“Other countries such as France are already following this path; if we fail to follow suit we will see our competitors overtake us and help drive their economies out of the pandemic-induced recession while we lag behind and never catch up.”

Meanwhile, Rolls-Royce’s share price rose sharply on the news of the job cuts. At the close of trading, shares were changing hands for 328.2p – up 9.25% over the day.