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BAE Systems axes almost 1,000 jobs

Unions have reacted with shock after manufacturing giant BAE Systems announced plans to axe almost 1,000 jobs, mainly from its military division.

Officials warned that the job losses in BAE's Military Air Solutions and Insyte (Systems Integrated System Technologies) divisions could be the "tip of the iceberg".

The Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions warned that the outcome of the forthcoming strategic defence and security review and the cuts being demanded by the Treasury mean "worrying prospects" for the defence industry.

CSEU general secretary Hugh Scullion said: "The unions are shocked at the scale of these losses and will be demanding an explanation from BAE.

"Talks will begin locally in the first instance to attempt to mitigate the planned losses and if necessary national negotiations will follow. The unions will oppose any compulsory redundancies. With the forthcoming defence review these cuts may be the tip of the iceberg but knee-jerk reactions from employers could make things even worse. "

Kevin Taylor, managing director of BAE's Military Air Solutions division said: "We have today initiated consultation regarding potential job losses across the Military Air Solutions business, affecting the Brough, Chadderton, Farnborough, Samlesbury and Warton sites. Potential job losses are in manufacturing, engineering and associated support functions.

"These potential job losses result from the impact of the changes in the defence programme announced in December 2009, together with other workload changes. It is vital that MAS remains competitive by ensuring we have the correct balance of skills, capabilities and resources as we await the outcome. Today's announcement is designed to ensure we remain properly positioned in what will undoubtedly become an increasingly challenging environment."

The company said there could be 212 job losses at Brough, in East Yorkshire, associated with a reduction in workload, mainly on the Hawk programme, 26 job losses at Chadderton, Manchester, because of a reduction in workload in the large aircraft business, 55 job losses within the Harrier team at Farnborough, Hampshire, 149 job losses at Samlesbury, Lancashire and 298 job losses at Warton, Lancashire.

Rory Fisher, managing director of BAE's Integrated System Technologies division, said 206 jobs would be lost by the end of 2011.

"These reductions will shape our business appropriately to meet existing and future commitments. We will take all possible actions to mitigate these potential job losses," he said. Mr Scullion, of the CSEU, added: "The defence industry is vital to the UK economy. The technical expertise built up in the UK is transferable to other areas of manufacturing. The Government is risking destroying the UK's manufacturing base with ideologically driven cuts."

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