Rolls-Royce Barnoldswick: Deal with Unite union secures plant’s future

Business

Manufacturing at a once-threatened Rolls-Royce plant will continue for at least 10 years, the engineering giant has announced.

The site in Barnoldswick, Lancashire, had seen strikes in a long dispute over the firm’s future plans for it.

A spokesman said a deal had been struck with unions “to ensure Barnoldswick can move forward with certainty”.

It was “a tremendous achievement” for workers who “stood solidly in support of one another”, the union Unite said.

The deal extends protections secured in 2020, including a commitment that there will be no compulsory redundancies for five years, the union added.

‘Act as an inspiration’
In August 2020, Rolls-Royce announced proposals to merge its plants in the town and cut about 350 jobs.

Workers went on strike in the following November, after it was revealed aeroplane fan blade production would move to Singapore.

In January, it was announced Barnoldswick would be a core site with a new centre of excellence to train workers, but concerns were later raised over suggestions the number of roles at the plant could drop below 350.

A spokesman for the firm said at the time that it was trying to secure new work and would make no compulsory redundancies.

In a new statement, the firm said the aviation industry had faced “an unprecedented impact from the Covid-19 pandemic and we have had to restructure to address the resulting drop in workload”, adding that “both the company and the trade union have had to work hard to reach this agreement”.

“We now look forward to working with Unite to ensure Barnoldswick can move forward with certainty,” it said.

Unite’s assistant general secretary Steve Turner said the deal was “a tremendous achievement for the workers… who have stood solidly in support of one another and their community”.

“This dispute should act as an inspiration to all facing similar challenges as we transition to a greener economy,” he added.