Barnoldswick jobs saved as Rolls-Royce turns attentions to green technology

By Tim Aldred

14 Jan 2021

Rolls-Royce and Unite have struck an agreement which will see a minimum of 350 workers employed at its Barnoldwick site for the next ten years.

The manufacturer had previously revealed plans to switch its aerospace related operations to Spain and Singapore, at the cost of 490 Lancashire jobs. Unite, the workers' union, then invoked industrial action which has now ceased.

The agreement will see the Rolls-Royce site at Barnoldswick switch focus, with the manufacturer creating a centre of excellence training school to support the development and manufacture of zero carbon technologies. 

There is also a two-year guarantee not to enforce compulsory redundancies at the site, while the form maps out its next stage of advanced manufacturing work supporting carbon-free energy generation, synthetic fuels and green technologies.

Steve Turner of Unite said: "Today is a day for celebration at the Barnoldswick plant and their community. They demonstrated real solidarity in the face of a genuine threat, stood together and have won a future. True local heroes who have inspired a generation.

"This plant has a great history, but it now has a bright future thanks to the courage and determination of these workers and the support of their friends and neighbours. It can look forward to celebrating its 80th anniversary in 2023, safe in the knowledge that it will play a leading role in Rolls-Royce as it repositions itself to be a key player in green manufacturing."

A Rolls-Royce spokesperson said: "We are pleased to confirm that after many weeks of complex and constructive talks about the future of our facility in Barnoldswick we have agreed a way forward with Unite.

"This includes a commitment to the long-term future of the site, delivering on our pledge not to close Barnoldswick, and the development of a training programme on the site to address the changing requirements for skilled engineering capability across the group and associated supply chain.

"This will include programmes designed to help meet the challenge of climate change."

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