Unions fighting to save 1,300 engineering jobs at Rolls-Royce’s Ansty plant have warned the company that it faces a long campaign of industrial action.
Brian Harris of the MSF union, whose members were on strike outside the plant for the second time in a month on Monday, said industrial action could escalate unless the company agreed to meet for further national level talks.
‘These people are not going to lose their jobs without a long fight,’ he told The Engineer.
Rolls-Royce announced last November that it was to cut nearly 1,300 jobs from its energy research and development division and move work to Montreal.
The first one-day strike by engineers at the plant near Coventry was held on 9 February.
Harris said this week’s picket line was ‘solid’ and had caused severe disruption to the running of the plant. ‘We stopped the vast majority of deliveries coming into the plant, backed up traffic and caused most of those entering the site to be extremely late for their shift.’
Harris said Rolls-Royce should show good faith in the negotiations and withdraw redundancy notices sent out to the union at the beginning of the 90-day consultation period.
This period is due to come to an end next week, at which point the company is expected to begin sending out compulsory redundancy notices to employees.
A spokesman for Rolls-Royce said it was disappointed that the union was taking industrial action while discussions over the company’s revised proposals were continuing.
National-level talks were held with the union last week, he said, where the company had put forward its proposal to offer to relocate 100 of its engineers to Montreal, and 200 to its site in Bristol, with further engineering vacancies available in Derby.
‘We believe we can offer large numbers of people alternative jobs within Rolls-Royce if they are prepared to relocate,’ the spokesman said. Only 400 of the 2,400 employees working at the site took part in the industrial action, he added.
The demand for energy generating turbines in north America is behind Rolls-Royce’s decision to move this part of its business across the Atlantic.