23rd Oct, 2017

Doomed Rolls-Royce Ansty staff in dispute over move to Scotland

Les Reid 20th Aug, 2015 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

ROLLS-ROYCE workers at Ansty set to lose their jobs are in dispute with the engineering giant over plans to transfer their work to Scotland, the Observer understands.

Sources say 140 staff at the turbine blades facility set for closure are refusing to co-operate with management demands they carry out the work required to enable the move in early 2017.

Sources say the work would include stockpiling products, visits to the plant in Inchinnan, Scotland, and training staff who would carry out the work north of the border.

It is understood staff represented by Unite the union are in dispute over the payment package offered for carrying out the work.

The union is also concerned about compulsory redundancies and transferring other parts of the business offshore to other countries away from the UK skills base – despite Roll-Royce securing UK government grants.

It was announced in June that Rolls-Royce workers nationally had voted to pay more in subs to the union to build up a ‘war chest’ of funds for potential industrial action.

The company had announced proposals to shed 2,600 jobs nationally, despite its reported £76.5bn order book and a $9.2billion order secured from Emirates Airlines.

The 140 workers at Ansty’s turbines facility had their fate sealed three weeks ago with a company staff announcement confirming the facility will close by the first quarter of 2017.

Another facility at Ansty – defence, which repairs engines for military aircraft – is closing this year, with 250 additional job losses.

The remaining work on Marine engines which have served the Royal Navy for decades is being ended.

It brings to an end decades of defence engineering at the site where thousands of people once worked.

In 2001, more than 2,400 people worked at the site.

The last of the three facilities at Ansty – which makes fan cases for Trent civil aircraft engines employing around 150 staff – will remain.

Sources fear the isolated fan case facility’s closure potentially after 2020, although bosses say it will benefit from the Emirates order.

Rolls-Royce announced three weeks ago it is to invest £60million in its Inchinnan plant in Renfrewshire, near Glasgow airport.

Despite the company’s huge order books, it has recently received profit warnings and is adjusting to market changes.

Asked about the unrest at Ansty, a Rolls-Royce spokesperson said: “The company and union representatives have engaged in constructive dialogue about the need to respond to volume changes, rationalise the manufacturing footprint and reduce overhead costs.

“It is never an easy decision to make reductions in our workforce and we remain committed to exploring all mitigation options, including redeployment to other sites and are offering full support to employees at our Ansty facility who are impacted by this decision.”

Of the ‘war chest’ ‘strike fund’, the company said: “Anything that undermines our competitive position would be concerning as this would not be good for securing employment in the long term.”

The company added: “Rolls-Royce must continually review current workload and assess future customer demand to remain competitive.”

It said it had announced consultation on closing the Ansty turbines facility in December last year because “falling load had led to the under-use of our turbine blade machining facilities.

“..The remaining load from the facility will be redistributed to other Rolls-Royce sites in the UK as part of a strategy to consolidate production at newer, more cost-competitive facilities that are under-used.”

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