Second blow for Wearside as BAE unveils plans to cut up to 60 jobs in Washington

BAE Systems' Washington plant
BAE Systems' Washington plant
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Dozens of jobs are under threat at a Wearside engineering plant.

Munitions manufacturer BAE Systems is planning to axe up to 60 posts at its site in Washington as part of a review of its operation across the UK.

A company spokesman confirmed the firm was cutting jobs at the plant, but said it would be creating new roles, as well as stepping up its hiring of apprentices and university leavers.

“BAE Systems is currently reviewing its Land Business in the UK to ensure we have the right skills and capabilities to grow the business in new and existing markets," he said.

"We are in consultation with our trades unions about potential job losses at some of our sites.

"However, we are also creating new jobs in order to grow our business and increasing the recruitment of apprentices and graduates fivefold over the next five years.

"It is very much about positioning ourselves for the future.

"We hope to have completed our business transformation by the end of the year. We will have gone through the process to know the roles we have to lose and found people for the new roles that will be created.

"Wherever possible, we will try to retain people for the new roles available and we also a very good record on voluntary release."

A spokesman for the Unite union said job losses had been anticipated since the UK's withdrawal from Afghanistan reduced the Army's demand for munitions: "Discussions are being dealt with locally, site by site." he said.

"Our representatives are working with the company and we are saying any job losses have to be on a voluntary redundancy basis."

BAE System moved into its new plant in January 2011.

The £75million development on the site of the old Dunlop factory in Washington - which the firm shares with Rolls-Royce - replaced the factory which had been its home since 1916.

Employees from the 350-strong workforce had a big say in designing the new site, which includes a gym, drying rooms for those who cycle to work, internet access and a learning centre.

Today's news is a second job's blow for Wearside in as many days.

The Echo revealed yesterday that Pump manufacturer Grundfos was planning to make up to 50 posts at its Castletown site redundant as part of a European restructuring.