Redundancies total 146 at Rolls-Royce in Barnoldswick

Rolls-Royce's Ghyll Brow site in Barnoldswick.
Rolls-Royce's Ghyll Brow site in Barnoldswick.

A total of 146 shop floor workers are set to be made redundant at Rolls-Royce’s Barnoldswick sites by the end of 2014.

The total number of workers to be axed from the company’s Bankfield and Ghyll Brow sites was confirmed on Wednesday, with the final figure 24 higher than the 122 mooted in March.

Fifty-six of those departing will be agency workers leaving 90 remaining roles to be cut.

Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson called it a “step in the wrong direction” after last week saying Rolls-Royce had in some ways “run down” and “overlooked” the town’s sites.

Unite Convenor Jon Brough, based in Barnoldswick, said: “The number is 146 direct workers who will go. Fifty-six agency workers on site at present will be released from their contracts.

“We have done some work asking people to consider voluntary redundancies to mitigate job losses and we have had interest in taking voluntary packages.

“There could potentially be a number of employees outstanding and there may have to be compulsory redundancies but I am reasonably confident we can avoid that.

“It’s cyclical and the amount of work is always changing. The workforce has doubled in the last five years, we’re now seeing a reduction of around 15%. It’s good employment but it is a shame we can’t keep delivering increases.”

While work has scaled back at Barnoldswick since the turn of the year, Mr Brough can already see new work on the horizon, with Airbus signing deals for 110 new aircraft at the Farnborough International Air Show, all of which will require brand new engines with the type of fan blade manufactured at Barlick.

In the meantime, Mr Brough says reducing the working week for a period of time might be an option.

He said another possible route would be to allow office staff to take voluntary redundancy if they wish to help avoid shop floor workers being forced out. Employees could then be re-trained to work in different roles.

Coun. David Whipp said: “I’m sure the company will bounce back with more jobs in the future and I hope that any individual losing their job finds alternative employment.

“My underlying concern is that up until earlier this year Rolls-Royce Barnoldswick was set for a huge investment by the company but it was shelved.

“The important issue is to work with the company, create the conditions where multimillion pound investment can made guaranteeing jobs well in to the future.”

A Rolls-Royce spokesman said: “We are working hard to reduce costs across our business to remain competitive.

“We must also react to changing demands from our customers and this has led to a reduced workload in our Barnoldswick facility.

“Earlier this year we informed employees and their representatives of proposals to reduce the workforce at the site and we remain committed to exploring all mitigation options to avoid compulsory redundancies.

“These options include the release of agency workers, opening voluntary severance and redeployment to other sites. “We are continuing to consult with employees and will offer full support to those impacted by the changes.”