Rolls-Royce shelves A380 programme

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The Independent Online

Union leaders yesterday expressed deep concern about the impact on British jobs of fresh delays to the A380 super-jumbo programme.

As the engineering giant Rolls-Royce suspended production of the A380 engine, employees' representatives warned the decision could have a serious effect on employment at a range of key sites in the UK.

Rolls-Royce managers said it was too early to say if the decision would have any impact on the 11,000 jobs at its plant in Derby, but union officials said there was considerable anxiety elsewhere.

Airbus owns a number of major sites in Britain - including at Bristol and Broughton near Chester - and there are hundreds of other firms supplying components for the project. Rolls-Royce said that while workers at Derby were involved in producing the Trent 900 for the A380, employees made other engines for Airbus and for other companies including Boeing.

A spokesman said: "After the Airbus delay, we have to adjust our programme accordingly.We are waiting for more details about requirements from Airbus. Once we are clear on that and any potential impact on future workload, we will consult with the unions."

Amicus officials are due to meet senior Airbus directors next Friday and will be demanding to know more details about the new delay. A spokeswoman for Amicus, the union representing most aerospace workers, said the impact on jobs at Derby was likely to be "minimal" in the short term, but the financial health of a wide range of other companies was tied up with the future of the A380.