By Ben Simmons
Workers at BAE Systems' Brough site, home of the Hawk trainer jet, have vowed to fight the company's decision to end manufacturing at the site and take the battle to the company's shareholders.
Yesterday (Wednesday), at a mass meeting of 1,300 workers from Brough, there was a unanimous vote to fight to keep manufacturing at the site.
In September 2011 BAE Systems announced 3,000 redundancies, including 899 at the Brough site on Humberside where aircraft have been built continuously for nearly 100 years.
BAE Systems’ management unilaterally ended consultation with Unite on the business case for ending manufacturing at Brough. Despite there being a number of options on the table, including one which would have kept the capability to manufacture Hawk fighter jets at Brough, the company has opted for the most extreme choice to close the site.
Based on the company's own business plans a significant Hawk order from Saudi Arabia needs to be delivered. Unite believes the best place to do this, with least risk to BAE and the customer is at Brough.
Ian Waddell, Unite national officer for aerospace, said: "Workers at Brough have voted unanimously to fight to save Hawk manufacturing at the site. There is a real feeling that the workers have been treated badly by BAE Systems. They are determined to address this injustice.
"BAE Systems' reasons for closing Brough are deeply flawed. It will be far more expensive to move Hawk production elsewhere than estimated. Our members at Brough who have years of experience working in the defence industry, deserve the right to have their case properly heard by the company."
In a speech to workers which referenced the fortieth anniversary of the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders' work-in, that saved shipbuilding on the Clyde, Mr Waddell called for Brough workers to protect the capability to build Hawk at Brough.
"BAE has made it clear it expects Brough workers to simply accept their fate and meekly hand over the tools to enable Hawk jets to be built elsewhere. There is no way we are going to allow that happen while the company refuses to talk to us meaningfully." Added Mr Waddell.
"We will now take this fight to the company's AGM and demonstrate to the board and the shareholders that the decision to end manufacturing at Brough is wrong. We have already stated our determination to pursue legal action over the ending of consultation. Coupled with escalating costs of moving Hawk, surely the company should hit the pause button and reassess the decision?"
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