DEFENCE and aerospace giant BAE Systems confirmed yesterday that it is cutting almost 3,000 jobs at sites across the country, as the industry reacts to diminishing defence budgets and increased competition from emerging markets.
In a statement issued yesterday, Ian King, chief executive of BAE, said the firm need to cut back its workforce because of the “huge pressure” on the defence budgets of Western nations, and the challenge to “remain competitive” to ensure its long term future.
BAE said 899 jobs will go at Brough in East Yorkshire, 843 at Warton and Preston in Lancashire and 565 at Samlesbury, while hundreds more positions will be lost at smaller sites across the UK.
Speaking outside the site in Brough yesterday, former home secretary Alan Johnson described the news as a “devastating blow” for the defence manufacturing industry.
“This is a little oasis of high value, well paid, skilled jobs. This is a terrible day, a really gloomy time,” he said.
Unite, the trade union, called it “a dark day” for British manufacturing and vowed to fight the lay-offs.
“The government cannot sit on its hands and allow these highly skilled jobs to disappear,” it said.
Business secretary Vince Cable described the news as “a serious knock” and said the government would work to ensure those made redundant find new jobs as there is a shortage of skilled engineers.