Staff at two of Rolls-Royce’s U.K. factories have reportedly announced to go on strike over plans to move production of engine blades to Singapore. Sources with knowledge of the matter stated that the strike will begin from early November and will continue for around three weeks.
For those uninitiated, Rolls Royce has been producing the engine blades at the Barnoldswick facility since 1943. The recent development comes after the management announced its plans to merge its Lancashire and Barnoldswick plants, cutting over 350 local jobs.
Reportedly, the company had earlier announced to cut around 3,000 jobs in the United Kingdom in order to cope up with the monetary repercussions of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Rolls Royce later declared that it would stop manufacturing wide chord fan blades for jet engines at its Barnoldswick site and move the production to Singapore by the year 2023, sources claimed.
The company’s management has met with significant opposition from union members as well as from the wider community. Reportedly, there has also been a petition calling on Rolls Royce to reverse its plans which has apparently secured over 6,800 signatures.
Ross Quinn, Unite’s Regional Officer, was reported saying that the union has given Rolls-Royce every chance to alter its plans as well as commit to the long-term future of its production sites in the U.K.
A spokesperson from Rolls Royce was quoted saying that the engineering firm has no intention to close the factories in the U.K. and that the Barnoldswick staff will play a key role in producing fan blades for future jet engines.
It is to be noted that the strike announcement comes at a time when the company is looking to secure an additional investment £5 billion through a £2 billion rights issue, the sale of £2 billion in shares, and £1 billion in UK government funding.
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