Select Committee on Trade and Industry Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by the Trades Unions representing the Brough Site of BAE SYSTEMS

  The Brough Trades Unions (TUs) represent both the Manual and Staff workers at the Brough Site of BAE SYSTEMS in East Yorkshire. As such the TUs are concerned about the long-term job security of their members.

  1.  This document gives a brief history and details of the work that has been taken off the Brough site and outlines some of the concerns of the work force.

  2.  The site has been hit by redundancy three times in the last three years with the workforce being reduced from over 3,500 to around 2,500 by September 2000. Improvements as part of the "Project Showcase" initiative, cost reductions and the recently announced redundancy were all blamed on cost cutting and workload problems.

  3.  The Company's decision to get out of manufacturing Tier 4 and 5 work (small detail and machined parts) to outside contractors, including work to Poland, has been a major factor in the redundancies.

  4.  The site's machining capability has been reduced with the removal of Airbus work to Filton and Alenia in Italy and the scrapping of the FMMS machines (Flexible Milling Manufacturing System).

  5.  Brough has recently lost the Gripen main landing gear unit to Dennet in South Africa as part of the Hawk offset. We have also lost numerous other packages of Hawk work including the tail-plane unit. In addition, Hawk nose-cone machining work has gone out to Hyde Engineering (a sub-contract company) and this work is now earmarked to be put abroad in either India or Australia as part of the Company's decision to place work with low cost offshore companies rather than UK sub-contractors.

  6.  The site has lost packages of RJ146 work to Malaysia, again as offset. This is either tier 4 or 5 work and as such does not fit in with the Company's manufacturing strategy. Other packages have been placed with sub-contract firms such as In-flight, Hydes and CML.

  7.  The Brough site lost the chance of 21 aircraft sets of Nimrod electrical work because we are unable to compete with the cheaper options around the world in either Asia or Eastern Europe. This is a UK funded programme.

  8.  The apprentice intake on the site has reduced from 40+ four years ago to 20 this year. We need to keep a highly skilled manufacturing workforce within BAE SYSTEMS in the UK, however, with the constant drain of manufacturing work from our sites and out of the UK we are in danger of losing that competitive capability.

  9.  The Brough site has a highly skilled workforce that can take on and succeed on any project. We are, however, in need of further Hawk orders or other sustainable work without which we fear we will wither on the vine.

  10.  The TUs are also very concerned about recent press speculation in the Financial Times that there could be further job cuts within BAE SYSTEMS. This must be of grave concern to both the Government and the DTI.

5 January 2001

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