Mega Projects

Rolls-Royce To Shut Factory Amid Major Shake-Up

Rolls Royce engine

Rolls-Royce has confirmed plans to shut its aerospace factory in Nottinghamshire and is looking to merge sites in Lancashire as part of a recently announced shake-up in the face of the pandemic.

The engine maker said it plans to close its site in Annesley by the end of 2022 in a move impacting around 120 staff, though the group is hoping most will transfer to its base in Derby.

But around 350 jobs are under threat as it revealed plans to stop making wide chord fan blades for new engines at its Bankfield site in Barnoldswick, Lancashire, by autumn 2023.

It will shift the work to its Singapore site.

It is also considering merging its Ghyll Brow base with the nearby Bankfield site as part of a group-wide restructure to save £1.3 billion in response to the coronavirus crisis.

The cuts are part of the mammoth 9,000 global job losses it announced in May to adapt to plunging demand after the aviation industry was hit hard by the pandemic.

Rolls said it was in talks with trade unions over the proposals revealed on Wednesday and would “do everything we can” to avoid compulsory redundancies.

Trade union Unite criticised the moves as a “horrible blow for staff”.

Unite national officer for aerospace Rhys McCarthy added: “For Rolls-Royce to lay out plans to lay off the majority of staff at its Barnoldswick sites whilst moving work to Singapore is a complete betrayal of a skilled and loyal workforce.

“In 2009, staff were assured that the production of Trent engine wide chord blades would continue at Barnoldswick despite another plant being opened in Singapore – an assurance we now know was not worth the paper it was written on.”

But Rolls said some work assembling Trent engines in Singapore will also move to the UK as it reviews its global operations.

Rolls said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has created a historic shock in civil aviation which will take several years to recover.

“Demand for our civil aerospace products and services has fallen significantly and we’ve had to take difficult but necessary decisions to position ourselves for the future.

“Today we have told our employees that we are proposing to close some of our sites, and some will see significant reductions in workload.”

Other sites across Rolls-Royce’s global operations are also affected by the cuts, with the group confirming that a site in Virginia, America, is set to close.

Holly Williams
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