ENGINEERS and support staff at Portsmouth’s Astrium satellite firm are to be out of a job by Christmas.
The redundancies affect those working in the firm’s Secure Satcom Systems (3S) division, and will see 50 jobs going across the firm’s Portsmouth, Stevenage and Poynton sites.
The News understands the majority of the jobs under threat are in Portsmouth, where 3S has its headquarters in the Broad Oak business park it shares with BAE Systems.
Workers are being asked to apply for voluntary redundancy before compulsory redundancies are made.
A spokesman for the firm said: ‘Everyone who has been affected has been informed.
‘It should all be completed before Christmas, before the end of the year.’
The job losses are being blamed on cuts to defence spending by governments across the world.
3S is the world’s leading manufacturer of satellite communications for use in the military and security services.
The firm’s products are used on board navy ships, carried by soldiers, are in planes and also provide secure access to the internet for the military.
But the economic downturn across the globe has forced governments to slash their defence budgets – not least the UK and US – and the work is drying up.
The spokesman added: ‘Because of the economic downturn a lot of the large military programmes have been scaled back, postponed, or in some cases cancelled altogether and as a result 3S hasn’t been able to win as many contracts as it needs.
‘No other part of Astrium has been affected.’
One of the workers affected in Portsmouth, who declined to be named, told The News: ‘It’s not really surprising, because there’ve been redundancies at BAE Systems recently and it’s all part of the same thing.
‘There isn’t as much money floating around at the moment, but these redundancies aren’t going to help that very much.
‘I personally think the redundancies will have to be compulsory, because I don’t know anyone who wants to voluntarily be out of a job at Christmas.’
The BAE redundancies, which predominantly affected sites in the north of the country which deal with aircraft and aviation, were also a result of governments scaling back their budgets.
There were no job cuts in Portsmouth.
The News understands that the Unite union has been informed of the Astrium jobs threats at a national level.
No-one from the union was available to comment last night.