FEARS Rolls-Royce will close its entire Ansty site are mounting following new proposals to outsource more operations, we can exclusively reveal.
Staff sources told the Coventry Observer of a company briefing last week regarding future production of fan cases for the family of Trent civil aircraft engines.
The engineering giant has now confirmed its latest plans to us – and did not re-state its previous assurances it had ‘no plans’ to close Ansty.
Staff sources say the defence operation is already being wound down this year, with the completion of remaining work on Marine engines which have served the Royal Navy for decades.
News is anxiously awaited within six weeks on the third part of the site – the turbine blades facility – which is set for closure.
A Rolls-Royce announcement in November proposed closing the turbine facility by 2017, with 140 jobs lost from among some 450 staff at the whole site.
Of the new development regarding the fan case facility, Rolls-Royce told us: “Due to the success of the Rolls-Royce engine portfolio we have more requirement for large Trent fan case machining than we have capacity in our facility in Ansty.
“The proposal to find a supplier for Trent 1000 and Trent 7000 fan case machining, will allow the Ansty facility to maximise its internal capacity to machine fan cases for Trent XWB, the fastest selling civil large engine ever and already responsible for over £30bn worth of Rolls-Royce orders, and will deliver the most cost effective service to our customers.”
In response to our questions about the whole site’s future, the company said: “Ansty will continue to manufacture the remaining fan case load, including a share of the metallic fan-case load for the Trent XWB.
“As with all our facilities the longer-term outlook will depend on customer requirements and facility competitiveness.”
On the expected confirmation of closure of the turbine facility, union Unite claims a long-term skills gap will be created by measures to outsource high-tech manufacturing jobs overseas.
Roll-Royce wants to consolidate its complex machining operations in the turbine facility at Derby, and Virginia USA, as part of a restructure its aerospace division globally involving 2,600 job losses.
It comes amid cutbacks in government military spending.
In February, Coventry South Labour MP Jim Cunningham said he and the unions had assurances from Rolls-Royce in a meeting with ministers that it had ‘no plans to close Ansty’.
He said: “They’ve been very vague about what the proposal is for Ansty.”
Staff sources fear the site will become unviable with only the fan case facility remaining.
The news follows the loss of nearly 400 jobs in 2013 at Ansty.
The company has decades of history in Coventry and once had two sites – at Ansty and Parkside which closed in the 1990s – following mergers with Armstrong Siddeley.
The Ansty plant, which became the headquarters of the Rolls Royce industrial and marine business, was built on farmland in 1935.
In 2001, more than 2,400 people worked at the site.