Memorandum submitted by Warton Unit Trade
This written evidence is submitted on behalf
of the workers at BAE SYSTEMS Warton Unit, comprising of Warton
and Samlesbury sites, in Lancashire.
It is compiled by the Manual and Staff Trade
Unions at Warton Unit who represent 10,000 employees.
This unit is involved in the following projects,
Typhoon (Eurofighter), Hawk, Harrier, Nimrod and on the civil
1. BAE SYSTEMS
Formed from the merger of British Aerospace
and Marconi Electronic Systems making the new Company one of the
world's leading systems, defence and aerospace Companies.
In September 2000 the Company declared record
half-year profits, up 48 per cent to £507 million and a strong
order book of £37 billion (see appendix 1).
2. Manufacturing Strategy
Prior to the merger, Warton Unit was part of
Military Aircraft and Aerostructures (MA&A) which comprised
the North West sites of Warton, Samlesbury and Chadderton, Brough
from the North East, Farnborough and Dunsfold (South) and Preswick
MA&A manufacturing strategy was to concentrate
on high technology work and to withdraw from lower tier manufacturing.
All work has been identified from tiers 1 to 5. Tier 1 work is
flight line/final assembly with tier 5 being simple detail work.
The Company intends to exit tiers 4 & 5 with a lot of this
work going abroad.
Of the 6,500 direct manufacturing jobs across
the sites, more than half would be affected with a significant
knock on effect on engineering support jobs.
When the merger happened MA&A was split
up, Dunsfold site was closed with the loss of 700 jobs.
There have been two redundancy programmes in
the last two years, which have resulted in:
600 job losses at Chadderton;
1,000 job losses at Brough; and
1,500 job losses at Warton Unit.
During this time, work has been outsourced to
Poland, Romania, Malaysia, China and South Africa from these sites.
We understand the argument for offset work to
win orders but we believe much of the work being outsourced is
on a cost basis to low wage economies to the detriment of UK jobs.
The BAE SYSTEMS Manufacturing Strategy Group
is now working on a 10-year plan and we are very concerned we
will see the closure of further sites with significant job losses
(see appendix 2).
3. Decline in Work Force Numbers
At Warton Unit we have had two redundancy programmes
within the past two years losing 1,500 people.
In the manual/clerical areas we had 3,300 workers
in 1997. Today this number is less than 2,500a 25 per cent
At one time Warton unit used to recruit 120
apprentices annually. This number has decreased to 60 over recent
years and next years intake is 40a 33 per cent reduction
with a minority being craft Apprentices.
4. Tooling Manufacture
Large-scale investment has taken place at Samlesbury
in the high tech tooling facility.
Originally only 18 per cent of tooling work
was to be done at Samlesbury with 82 per cent to be subcontracted
but we believe now our share is more like 10 per cent.
Some two years ago approximately 50 toolmakers
were recruited taking the total tool room number up to about 140.
During the last two redundancy programmes toolmakers
were allowed to take voluntary redundancy and 40 have been transferred
onto manufacturing with the number now down to 65 toolmakers.
This is due to the significant amount of tooling
work (mostly Typhoon) being subcontracted abroad to Poland (see
This equates to approximately 60 men's work for year 2000.
We are also very concerned that tooling work
is being subcontracted to companies like Hyde tooling (Lancashire)
where we believe much of this is being subcontracted to Eastern
We are reliably informed that there is no more
capacity for tooling work going to Poland and the Company and
tooling subcontractors are now sending work into Romania.
A further concern is the amount of Typhoon tooling
work going to Poland where on its return identity of manufacture
labels are removed!
Samlesbury has relied heavily on Airbus work,
where up to recent times 70 per cent of Samlesbury's work was
The civil work was vital to our sites during
the development of the Eurofighter.
As you are aware substantial Government grant
aid of £540 million was given to BAE SYSTEMS towards the
development of A3XX (A380).
BAE SYSTEMS claims 22,000 UK jobs (8,000 in
BAE SYSTEMS) will be created, but we believe no A3XX work will
go to the BAE SYSTEM sites who already have expertise on Airbus
ie Samlesbury, Brough, Prestwick and Chadderton. There are currently
3,000 Airbus jobs on these sites.
Profit from military Aircraft sites like Samlesbury,
Brough and Chadderton kept the civil sites on Broughton (Wales)
and Filton (Bristol) viable during their difficult years.
We believe the priority has to be to protect
existing sites and jobs before creating new jobs.
BAE SYSTEMS must be pressed into influencing
decisions at Airbus corporate level to put work into other BAE
SYSTEMS sites that desperately need to sustain jobs and skills
across the UK.
Airbus work is being sent to China and Malaysia
while we have jobs at risk across BAE SYSTEMS sites (see appendix
The Government recently awarded contracts to
BAE SYSTEMS for the A400M (Military Transporter).
Samlesbury and other Military sites were given
assurances by the Company, when we were campaigning for the project,
that we would share in this work.
We have concerns that most of this project will
go to Airbus and subcontractors and little if any to Military
The Company needs to be asked at which BAE SYSTEMS
sites will the A400M be manufactured.
We are concerned that there is collusion between
BAE SYSTEMS and Aerospace contractors to set up companies in Eastern
Europe which will destroy our manufacturing capability.
Managers who were made redundant in the last
round, or who volunteered for redundancy have nearly all secured
Management positions with local Aerospace subcontractors.
These people had a lot of commercial knowledge
of our sites and it is now being used to undermine jobs in Warton
Unit. This has happened with BAE SYSTEMS awareness.
This kind of ethics would not be allowed in
most businesses, only it suits BAE SYSTEMS motives to dismantle
its manufacturing and outsource.
7 January 2001
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