Unions have demanded further clarification from Rolls-Royce after the aeroengine maker denied newspaper reports that it was cutting 400 jobs at Derby – 10% of the total workforce employed at its commercial aeroengine facility.
The Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union (AEEU) warned that the likely downturn in the aerospace sector could eventually lead to 1,000 redundancies at the company.
Sir Ken Jackson, general secretary of the AEEU, said: `The workers have made the company very successful and this is a big blow. We will be pressing extremely hard that any redundancies should be voluntary.’
AEEU spokesman David Collins said that the company was reducing numbers because of a lack of orders in the airline division.`Some other sections of the company are doing relatively well,’ he said. `But this is going to hit a lot of skilled people.’
Rolls-Royce spokesman Peter Barnes-Wallis said he could not confirm the union’s figure.
He added that the size of the workforce was under constant review but the company had not issued a statement saying 400 jobs would be cut.
`We have said that each of our businesses keeps its workforce level under review and it’s likely there will be some reductions in parts of the company,’ Barnes-Wallis said.
Rolls-Royce signalled an expected reduction in aircraft deliveries when it released half-year results in August. However, it said engine deliveries in 2000 would continue at a similar level to those in 1999.
Barnes-Wallis said the decline in airline orders does not affect Rolls-Royce’s overall aerospace operations or the group as a whole: `We are still forecasting a rise in total civil aeroengine deliveries over the next three years.’
He added that any shortfalls in airliner orders will be offset by strong engine orders at Rolls-Royce’s regional and corporate unit.
`Unconfirmed news of any job-cuts at Derby should not be seen as affecting the company’s overall performance,’ he concluded.