Washington plant escapes BAE job cuts

BAE Systems' Washington plant
BAE Systems' Washington plant

Arms manufacturer BAE Systems is to cut almost 2,000 jobs nationwide - but the firm's Wearside plant has been spared the brunt of the cuts.

The firm has today unveiled plans to axe jobs across its military, maritime and intelligence services under moves to streamline its business and have a 'sharper' competitive edge.

The biggest cutback will be in the military air business, with 1,400 jobs set to be cut across five sites over the next three years, including Warton and Samlesbury in Lancashire, where the Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft assembly takes place.

Jobs will also be cut at Brough in East Yorkshire and at RAF bases in Marham, Norfolk, and Leeming in North Yorkshire.

Around 375 proposed redundancies have also been announced in BAE's maritime servicing and support business, mainly affecting Portsmouth.

Some jobs will also go from the company's cyber intelligence business in London and Guildford.

And the firms says 30 posts will be cut at 'other UK locations.' it is unclear whether any of these will be at Washington.

Chief executive Charles Woodburn said: "The organisational changes we are announcing today accelerate our evolution to a more streamlined, de-layered organisation, with a sharper competitive edge and a renewed focus on technology.

"These actions will further strengthen our company as we deliver our strategy in a changing environment."

BAE is facing an order gap for the Typhoon so production is being slowed ahead of an expected order from Qatar.

Production of the Hawk jet aircraft is ending in the next few years, affecting the Brough site, although Qatar could place a new order which would keep production going until 2010.

Around 400 redundancies are being planned at Brough.

Most of the military air job cuts will go in 2018 and 2019, with some planned for 2020 and BAE said its goal is to achieve as many voluntary redundancies as possible.

Around 375 job losses are planned for the maritime servicing and support business, with 340 in Portsmouth.

BAE's cyber intelligence business will cut 150 jobs, split between sites in London, Guildford in Surrey, and overseas.

The total number of proposed redundancies is 1,915.

Today's statement marks the second round of redundancies at BAE this year.

The firm said in May that it was planning cuts which would include up to 60 of the 350-strong workforce at its Washington plant 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 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 Birtley factory which had been its home since 1916.