Portsmouth's maritime industry took a blow today as one of the city's major employers BAE Systems announced massive countrywide job cuts.
In a statement published by BAE Systems, Charles Woodburn, Chief Executive, said: “BAE Systems is a world leader in technology, advanced manufacturing and engineering and our diverse portfolio provides a strong platform for future growth. The organisational changes we are announcing today accelerate our evolution to a more streamlined, de-layered organisation, with a sharper competitive edge and a renewed focus on technology. These actions will further strengthen our company as we deliver our strategy in a changing environment.”
Despite the positive spin by BAE Systems, the remodelling of the businesses, announced as 'organisational changes' will mean that a total of 1,915 jobs are cut across operations around the United Kingdom over 300 jobs being lost from the firms maritime operations in Portsmouth.
Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, has expressed his huge disappointment at the news. He said: “This is terrible news for the workers, their families, and our great city! These are highly-skilled, hardworking men and women who deserve better.
“I have already been in contact with the unions and BAE Systems, as well the appropriate Government Minister, to express my serious concern about the impact these job losses could have not only on families in our city but also Portsmouth’s wider economy.
“The Government are hollowing out the UK’s sovereign defence capability by spending increasing amounts of the defence budget in factories overseas.
“It is time the Government acted to invest UK taxes here and supply our industry and the nation with a proper defence industrial strategy to provide certainty and protect British workers from further job cuts.
“The Government — as one of BAE Systems biggest customers — must come forward urgently with a clear plan to secure these jobs at BAE Systems and give the industry the certainty that it needs.”
There are calls on Government to guarantee that long-term projects, such as the next generation fighter jets, future support ships, and Type 31e frigates, will be designed and built here in the UK. These negotiations are ongoing.
BAE Systems went on to state that the changes were 'In response to evolving customer requirements and an ongoing focus on efficiency improvements'. The announcements were also accompanied by the businesses' announcement that they expect earnings to be between 5%-10% higher compared the same period last year.