Aero-engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce this week tried to distance itself from comments by its chairman that the company could shift manufacturing to the US if the UK adopted costly European labour laws.
Rolls-Royce said Sir Ralph Robins’ comments, to the Trans Tazman business circle at a business meeting in Sydney, Australia, had been taken out of context.
He was reported as saying: ‘The last thing we want is the on-costs associated with the social costs of Europe, but I don’t see any sign of it happening the Government is not going down that path. However, we will move work to the US if we find ourselves disadvantaged by that sort of social cost.’
A Rolls-Royce spokesman said: ‘We emphasise the benefits of manufacturing in the UK and we expect that to continue.’
Robins’ comments were made in response to questions on what would happen if the UK were to become uncompetitive.
Rolls-Royce has 32,000 UK employees at 19 sites.
The company was also keen to play down the suggestion that Robins had made any hostile comments about manufacturing in Britain.
* Legislation on fairness at work, which provides for trade union recognition and a range of worker rights, could be delayed until next year as the Government struggles with balancing the concerns of employers and unions.