Rescue plan for engines jobs

Engines giant Rolls-Royce unveiled a £100m (€148m) overhaul of four UK factories today that could save 200 jobs.

Engines giant Rolls-Royce unveiled a £100m (€148m) overhaul of four UK factories today that could save 200 jobs.

The company last year announced that 1,100 jobs would be lost at Bristol, Derby and Hucknall, near Nottingham, as part of a restructuring of three manufacturing plants.

But it today said a fifth of these posts would be retained as a result of the planned improvements at the plants and a fourth factory at Barnoldswick in Lancashire.

Rolls, which employs 21,000 people in the UK, currently manufactures 30% of parts used in its engines with the rest sourced from other suppliers.

Investment will take place over the next two and a half years and will include the replacement of the first Rolls-Royce factory built in 1906 at Derby, which was announced last year.

New buildings are planned for its combustion systems base at Hucknall and also at Bristol, which makes component parts and turbine systems.

In addition, the original site for the development of the gas turbine at Barnoldswick will be replaced by a modern factory.

Rolls-Royce said the investment would guarantee long-term job security for workers in the UK at a time when the manufacturing sector was struggling to recover from the economic downturn.

Staff at the four factories have agreed to “modern working practices” that include swapping existing overtime arrangements for all-inclusive salary deals.

Improved efficiency at its manufacturing hubs helped to lower product costs by 5% in 2003, with Rolls-Royce expecting a similar reduction this year.

Chief operating officer John Cheffins said: “This investment demonstrates our confidence in the UK as a centre for high value-added manufacturing operations.”

Rolls-Royce has spent £130m (€192m) since 1999 on improving its UK production bases with a new turbine blade facility at Derby and a compressor blade plant built at Inchinnan, near Glasgow.

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