Vickers, which last week said it would close its Leeds tank factory with the loss of up to 450 jobs, expects to keep at least 100 staff in the area to maintain British army tanks put into storage.
‘The factory will close, but the test track and storage and maintenance facilities will stay,’ Vickers said this week.
The exact number of jobs retained will depend on how the Ministry of Defence chooses to maintain the 200-odd tanks, being stored following July’s Strategic Defence Review.
‘Tank fleet maintenance work will be done at Leeds and it could be enhanced,’ Vickers added. ‘If and when it’s completely outsourced, as the MoD has signalled, we’ll be well positioned to deal with it.’
The Leeds factory will start to wind down for closure in the third quarter of next year and will shut by the end of 1999, Vickers said. Another 200 jobs will go at the Newcastle plant from the middle of next year.
The 650 redundancies will cost the firm almost £30m.
Vickers rejected suggestions that Leeds was axed instead of Newcastle for political reasons, following the spate of other closures in the north east.
Alvis eyed by US firms, see page 8