Rolls engineers set to strike as talks collapse

Engineers at Rolls-Royce’s Coventry plant are set to strike today after talks to avoid industrial action broke down.

The one-day strike is in protest at plans to cut nearly 1,300 jobs from its energy research and development division, based at Ansty, and move work to Canada. Union leaders said the strike — the first at the site for over 20 years — will be followed by a series of one-day stoppages unless the company comes up with an improved offer.

Brian Harris, campaigns officer for the MSF union, described Rolls-Royce’s behaviour as ‘bullish’, in issuing redundancy notices before considering the union’s alternative proposals. ‘We believe the company should be utilising these people, not sending work abroad. In fact, with the skills mix at Ansty, which is predominantly an R&D plant, Rolls-Royce should be bringing work into the plant, to help other areas of the business meet deadlines.’

Engineers at Ansty were furious at the company’s decision to move its energy business to Montreal, he said, and were overwhelmingly in support of industrial action.

But a Rolls-Royce spokesman said the strike would only involve 20% of the staff — around 400 people. The company would be willing to resume talks with union leaders at any time, he added.

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