An MEP has urged the EU to protect Rolls-Royce jobs after saying the company’s record £6bn deal with Emirates “will not generate UK jobs”.
Labour’s Theresa Griffin made the comments after a meeting in Brussels and has called for urgent European action to tackle what she described as a “crisis”.
Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson, who is also Vice-Chairman of the All Party Aerospace Group, says he has already taken up the fight at home by writing to new Business Secretary Sajid Javid MP expressing concern about Rolls-Royce’s business strategy at Bankfield and Ghyll Brow.
Rolls-Royce announced the enormous Emirates deal last month to supply the airline with Trent 900 engines for 50 Airbus A380 aircraft.
It was anticipated that as well as Barnoldswick and other UK sites reaping the benefits of the order, it would also reverse a redundancy trend.
Rolls-Royce announced in November that it was axing 2,600 jobs globally. In Pendle, 121 jobs are to go this year, adding to 146 lost in 2014.
Mrs Griffin said: “In the North West Rolls-Royce employ 1,500 people, in addition to this they also sub-contract to other companies who now face an uncertain future.
“These cuts are a huge loss of skills to the UK economy and will result in Rolls-Royce outsourcing high-tech manufacturing jobs overseas to plug the skills gap in the future.
“I was shocked to learn that the recently announced £6.1bn deal between Rolls-Royce and Emirates will not generate UK jobs. In fact, it will not even prevent further job losses.
“Since 1997, Rolls-Royce has received £680m from the UK Government as well as additional EU funding. I would expect their priority to be protecting jobs in the UK. I will continue to work with Rolls-Royce employees and Unite the Union to fight to keep jobs here in the UK.
“We have called for action at an EU level and my Labour colleagues and I will continue to do everything we can to keep jobs in the North West.”
Mr Stephenson said: “It’s deeply concerning given the size of the order book at Rolls-Royce that more work is not coming through the Barnoldswick sites.
“I have held meetings with senior executives and have written to the new Secretary of State for Business, Skills and Innovation Sajid Javid with my concerns and I will continue to make the case for Barnoldswick.
“There has been a lack of investment in Barnoldswick for many years but there is absolutely no reason with investment why it cannot be as efficient as any other of its sites around the world. We are the second biggest aerospace industry in the world behind the US.”
However, a spokesman for Rolls-Royce said: “The order from Emirates is great news but does not alter the fact that we must improve our cost base to remain competitive.
“It will give additional job security to the thousands of people who will be involved in delivering this order.
“Around 80% of the manufacturing work that Rolls-Royce does on a Trent 900 engine takes place in the UK. For instance, compressor components and transmissions are built in Barnoldswick.
“We are making the restructuring changes so that we can better compete while still making important ongoing investments in new facilities and technologies.
“We’ve spent £240m on high-tech facilities in the UK in the past couple of years.
“We are a global company that makes almost 90% of its revenues outside the UK and we need to attract and invest in engineering talent from around the world.”