ROLLS-ROYCE has responded to questions from the Coventry Observer about its plans to move some business abroad amid job losses at Ansty and other sites – despite receiving UK government grants.
We exclusively revealed last week that 140 workers at the doomed turbine blades facility at Ansty near Coventry are refusing to co-operate with plans to move their work to Inchinnan near Glasgow by 2017.
A further 250 staff working in another closing Ansty facility – defence – will lose their jobs there later this year.
It leaves only around 160 staff working at Ansty’s fan case facility. Sources believe, once isolated, it too will be considered unviable and could be closed, potentially after 2020.
We reported last week it is understood Ansty turbines staff have been in dispute with management at the global engineering giant, and were refusing to co-operate with carrying out work needed to ensure a smooth transfer of the work to Inchinnan.
The work includes stockpiling, and training other staff to carry out the work north of the border.
The Ansty job losses are among 2,600 to go nationally, despite Rolls-Royce order books valued at £76.5bn.
Unite the union announced in June that Rolls-Royce staff nationally voted to raise a ‘strike fund’ for potential industrial action against compulsory redundancies and relocating work abroad – away from the UK skills base.
Ansty contacts told the Observer there are also concerns about relocating jobs abroad when Rolls-Royce had received UK government grants paid by UK taxpayers, including for advanced manufacturing, and research and development.
Rolls-Royce said in a statement released to us: “The UK remains our global headquarters, we have invested billions of pounds here and it continues to be the base for many of our critical operations.
“We continue to employ over 9,000 engineers in the UK: these are highly skilled, high value jobs at the cutting edge of science and engineering, including engineers who design, manufacture and service nuclear plants, those creating bespoke materials for our power systems and those who are innovating the concepts that will power the future of air travel.
“Rolls-Royce presence in countries outside of the UK is important to our market positioning for new business, access to talent and to maintain competitiveness.
“Expanding our presence in key territories is key to winning more work, which ultimately benefits the whole business, and so supports employment across the rest of the organisation, including the UK.
“The UK government wants a globally competitive aerospace industry and we are making these changes so that we can become more cost competitive while still making important ongoing investments in new facilities and technologies.
“Some of these investments are supported by UK and other government funding.
“But it is important to note that we’ve spent £240m on high-tech facilities in the UK in the past couple of years – £100m on a new discs facility in Washington, Tyne and Wear, £110m on our Advanced Blade Casting Facility in Rotherham and £30m expanding our Derby Trent XWB production centre which will be the main assembly hub for the Trent XWB.
“We have announced the creation of a composite technology hub in Bristol, plans to invest up to £60m in our Inchinnan facility creating a new Centre of Competence for the manufacture of aerofoils and a new location for the manufacture of mainline engine shafts. We are also developing plans for a new campus in Derby.”
As we reported last week, Rolls-Royce said about Ansty job losses it is “exploring all mitigation options, including redeployment to other sites and are offering full support to employees who are impacted by this decision.”