BAE Systems To Axe 500 UK Jobs

Britain's largest engineering company is to axe around 500 jobs and close three sites, it was announced today.

BAE Systems will shut the three factories at Telford, Shropshire; Leeds and Guildford, Surrey, due to falling orders, and, in part, to the withdrawal of British troops in Iraq.

All the sites are in the company's Global Combat Systems Vehicles and Weapons businesses, which currently employ 1,820 people in the UK.

Around 50 jobs will also be lost at Newcastle upon Tyne, seven in Leicester and 90 at the company's weapons business in Barrow.

A further 30 posts will be axed through efficiency measures.

"The announcement follows the UK decision to postpone the FRES - Future Rapid Effects System - Utility Vehicle acquisition and a downturn in work supporting British Army operations in Iraq and Afghanistan," the company said in a statement.

Combat Systems managing director, David Allot, added: "We must consolidate a fragmented site infrastructure to reduce fixed overheads, whilst at the same time transforming our skills mix to increase our UK focus on systems integration and win orders internationally.

"While we clearly regret having to take this step, our forecast UK order intake has reduced and we have to match the size of our business appropriately to the projected nature and volume of workload."

Bernie Hamilton, union Unite's national officer, expressed dismay at the news.

"We are extremely disappointed, as this announcement impacts the UK's ability to build and design the next-generation armoured vehicles and other equipment," he said.

Meanwhile, Tim Roache, the GMB's regional secretary for Yorkshire said they would be seeking an urgent meeting with BAE Systems to "find the full extent of the problem and see what can be done to safeguard GMB members' jobs".

See: UK Troops Honoured As Combat Operations End In Iraq


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