Belfast Telegraph

7,000 Rolls-Royce jobs secured as engines giant invests £150m in East Midlands

More than 7,000 jobs are being safeguarded at Rolls-Royce after the group announced its biggest single investment in the UK for more than a decade.

The aircraft engine giant said it would be investing £150 million over the next few years in new and existing civil aerospace facilities across the East Midlands.

It will be creating a new facility at its historic site in Derby for the testing of large civil aero engines, which will create up to 200 jobs.

The group will also axe previously announced plans to close a precision machining facility in Derby, which will save around 150 jobs that were at risk.

Rolls said it had also committed to safeguarding 7,000 jobs after talks with trade unions, pledging that there will be no compulsory redundancies in the East Midlands region for five years.

Eric Schulz, president of civil aerospace at Rolls-Royce, said: "This investment comes at a time of unprecedented growth in Rolls-Royce.

"We are doubling the production of new engines at the same time as introducing three new engines to the market.

"With this investment, we are creating the capacity and flexibility to deliver on our goals, while committing to sustain employment in the UK."

The jobs pledge comes after months of talks with unions.

Rolls employs around 12,000 staff in the East Midlands, of whom 7,000 are covered by the union agreement.

Business Minister Greg Clark said the investment was "good news" for the UK, which has now kicked off Brexit negotiations.

He said: "I welcome the confidence that the company is showing in the UK.

"These facilities are good news for Rolls-Royce, its UK suppliers and our economy."

The investment by Rolls comes as it ramps up production to deliver on its £7 billion civil aerospace order book.

It also follows two years of major restructuring being led by boss Warren East after a string of profit warnings and January's corruption fine to settle a case brought by the Serious Fraud Office and authorities in the US and Brazil.

The group reported its largest ever loss and one of the biggest in UK corporate history earlier this year, slumping into the red with a pre-tax loss of £4.64 billion for 2016 after a £4.4 billion writedown caused by the collapse of the pound since the Brexit vote, as well as a £671 million penalty to settle bribery allegations.

But it said earlier this month that 2017 had started well, with all businesses performing in line with expectations.

Unite union national officer Ian Waddell said: "There were real fears that future investment could go overseas, but thanks to the skills, capabilities and adaptability of Rolls-Royce's UK workforce, thousands of jobs have been secured.

"This massive vote of confidence in a world-leading workforce will also mean more high- quality apprenticeships and secure Rolls-Royce's manufacturing base in the UK for the next 20 years."

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: "This is great news for a world-beating workforce making world-class engines, and testament to the hard work of Unite's shop stewards and members.

"It is a good day for British manufacturing that must not be undone by a botched Brexit.

"The Government must now play its part by pursuing a 'jobs first' Brexit and securing tariff-free access to the single market and customs union.

"A failure to do so risks future investment and decent high-quality manufacturing jobs."

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