Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Bleak Future at Historic Plant as 100 Jobs Axed

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Bleak Future at Historic Plant as 100 Jobs Axed

Article excerpt

Byline: ANDREW GLOVER ; ADRIAN PERASON

TIME is running out to save one of Tyneside most historic factories rocked by the latst in a series of job losses.

Union bosses warned they have no faith in BAE Systems keeping open the Scotswood Road plant in Newcastle as more than 100 jobs are axed.

The firm will move work to Telford, completing the process by next year, to make the company "more efficient".

Concern is growing that with no new contracts, the 300 staff left by 2013 will have no work left, ending 150 years of defence works.

Mikey Blench, GMB organiser, said many did not believe BAE wanted to keep the former Vickers factory going.

He said: "I spoke to the shop steward briefly, and we have been told that about 100 jobs are to go here. That's a quarter of the workforce.

"It is bleak there, the future looks bad. We aren't even sure they are looking for work and our worry is that BAE just want to wind this down.

"They will carry out the current orders and then wind it down to finish.

"We were expecting something but nothing this bad."

Workers leaving the plant at the end of their shift last night said the news of redundancies had come as a complete shock to them.

One, who did not want to be named, said: "We hadn't heard anything before today. This morning was the first announcement.

"We've been told there's enough work here to keep us going for a little while but I don't know how long that will be."

Consultation with unions and staff will now begin and employees were unclear how the process would work.

"There's not a lot we can say," one said.

"Nobody really knows anything yet, other than it will be the standard threemonth consultation, it's all up in the air." Union leaders said they will work with MPs to lobby ministers into supporting continued manufacturing work on the site. …

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