Job cuts loom at aerospace group

Global aerospace group Safran Nacelles is consulting its Burnley workforce on a proposed redundancy programme as the impact of the coronavirus crisis hits the aviation sector hard.

It is believed up to a third of the 750 jobs at the plant could be lost. Consultation with the workforce began earlier this month.

Manufacturing firm Rolls-Royce, which operates two sites in Lancashire, has also announced it is to cut 9,000 jobs from its global operations in reaction to the airline industrys growing coronavirus-related struggles.

It manufactures parts for aero engines from two sites in Barnoldswick, employing more than 1,000 staff and has invested more than £150m in upgrades to its production capacity over the last decade.

Safran Nacelles has also invested heavily in its Lancashire operation in recent years. Management say that the proposed redundancies are necessary to protect the long-term existence of the business in Burnley.

Managing director Michael Rigalle said: “The aerospace industry is facing an unprecedented crisis because of the wide-ranging impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

There has been an 80 per cent reduction in the amount of global air travel, and the financial impact of this is already being felt throughout the industry.

“We have previously taken swift steps to protect the health of our employees and business.

We must take difficult decisions to see our business through these unprecedented times.

This included implementing safe working arrangements for our employees and releasing the vast majority of our contractors. Unfortunately, our business cannot sustain the significant financial impact of the coronavirus crisis without taking further steps.

“Therefore, with great regret, we have had to start consulting on a proposed redundancy programme to protect the longer-term existence of Safran Nacelles in Burnley.

“Over the coming weeks we will consult with the trade union and our employees. We will provide as much support as we can for our employees through this challenging period.

“We hope that these steps, whilst deeply regrettable, will help to protect the longer-term future for Safran Nacelles in Burnley.”

Safran is an international high-technology group, operating in the aircraft propulsion and equipment, space and defence markets.

The business is a world leader for aircraft nacelles and an active player in after-market services, with 23,000 products in service. The company is active in all segments of the market, from regional jets and corporate aircraft to the largest airliners.

Rolls-Royce employs a total of 52,000 around the world, but has not yet announced which sites or countries will be affected.

The measures will also include reduced expenditure across plant and property, capital and other indirect costs. The job cuts are expected to save £700m, with additional cuts a further £800m.

Warren East, the companys chief executive said that it will take several years to recover from the coronavirus pandemics unprecedented impact on the aviation industry.

He said: This is not a crisis of our making. But it is the crisis that we face and we must deal with it. Our airline customers and airframe partners are having to adapt and so must we.

Being told that there is no longer a job for you is a terrible prospect and it is especially hard when all of us take so much pride in working for Rolls-Royce.

But we must take difficult decisions to see our business through these unprecedented times.

Governments across the world are doing what they can to assist businesses in the short-term, but we must respond to market conditions for the medium-term until the world of aviation is flying again at scale, and governments cannot replace sustainable customer demand that is simply not there.

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