Rolls-Royce staff vote for further industrial action

Employees of Rolls-Royce in Barnoldswick have voted in favour of further strikes just months after the two sides came to an agreement over the future of the site.

The global engineering giant had previously announced plans to shift work overseas from the site, which caused industrial action backed by workers' union Unite. A deal was then agreed in January which promised to keep at least 350 jobs at Barnoldswick for a decade.

Rolls-Royce defended its initial decision, saying it had been forced to make more than £1.3bn in cost savings around the world due to the loss of demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Now the company says it is "extremely disappointed" in the threat of further action. An official statement listed the progress that had been made on the deal so far, including guaranteeing the future of Fabricated Structures Facility until 2031, confirming that parts for its technology demonstrator programme for the next generation of gas turbine will be completed in Lancashire, investing £1m in installing capability for a new fan blade servicing and repair capacity, and confirming the location of the site’s training centre location.

Sebastian Resch, director of operations – civil aerospace at Rolls-Royce, said: “This vote is extremely disappointing, given the commitments given by both the company and union representatives to develop a plan that will preserve Barnoldswick through the devastating industrial impact of Covid-19.

"We will continue to engage in meaningful dialogue with trade union representatives to ensure both sides meet their commitments – to invest in the site, and also to deliver the productivity and efficiency improvements that are essential to secure Barnoldswick’s future."

  • For further Lancashire business news, advice and analysis subscribe to Lancashire Business View or join the LBV Hub from just £2.50 per month. Click here to subscribe now.