BAe to make 800 more redundant at three plants: Regional jet division hardest hit

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The Independent Online
BRITISH AEROSPACE yesterday announced more than 800 job losses at three of its commercial aircraft and aerostructure plants.

The axe will fall most heavily in the regional jet division, Avro, where BAe is making 580 redundancies, reducing the workforce to 2,300. A further 250 jobs are to go at its Chadderton plant near Manchester, which manufactures aerostructures for Airbus and military aircraft.

The regional jet job losses come on top of 3,000 redundancies at the division in 1992 and follow the collapse of talks to sell a half stake in the business to the Taiwan Aerospace Corporation.

BAe said the latest redundancies - 480 at the Woodford plant near Manchester and 100 at Hatfield in Hertfordshire - would be paid for out of a pounds 1bn provision set aside in 1992 to cover restructuring costs.

The regional jet business cut losses dramatically last year and BAe now expects it to be able to make a profit out of delivering about 18 aircraft a year. The 75-105 seater Regional Jet sells for dollars 20m-dollars 25m. Last week BAe won an order for three from Turkish Airlines.

A spokesman said the Taiwan deal was 'dormant not dead', adding that BAe was still pursuing joint venture opportunities with a number of potential partners.

Tim Webb, assistant general secretary of the white-collar Manufacturing Science and Finance union, said the job losses were not unexpected and blamed the Government for the cuts.

'The Government has ignored a Commons select committee report which said it should support advanced projects such as the new 146 regional jet,' he said.

Ann Coffey, Labour MP for Stockport, said: 'The British Government is too laid back about this industry. It has not pulled its finger out, nor has it treated the situation with the degree of urgency required.' Other aerospace industries, particularly in the US, were gaining an unfair competitive edge through government military contracts.

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