Aerospace workers in jobs protest

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THOUSANDS of aerospace workers converged on Parliament yesterday to warn the Government that the future of their industry was grim.

Workers from British Aerospace, Rolls-Royce, Dowty, Smiths Industries and other aerospace companies across the country staged a rally before lobbying MPs amid fears of a jobs 'catastrophe'. Unions warned that 132,000 direct and indirect jobs could be lost in the next 12 months unless there was urgent action from the Government.

More than 40,000 jobs have already been shed over the past two years and the industry was in a 'nosedive', unions warned.

Alex Ferry, general secretary of the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions, said: 'Although the industry is facing very difficult problems at the moment, the medium and long-term projections for the demand for civilian aircraft are absolutely astronomical.

'But unless something is done to ensure that the present slide will not continue we will not have the capacity to take advantage of the upturn when it comes.

'The Government is totally devoid of any industrial strategy and refuses to talk to us about it despite our repeated warnings about the state of the industry.'

The rally was almost an hour late in starting because of a larger than expected attendance by thousands of workers.

(Photograph omitted)