60 jobs set to be axed as firm loses Chinook contract

Vector Aerospace at Fleetlands Gosport
Vector Aerospace at Fleetlands Gosport
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SIXTY jobs are to be axed from an aerospace company as an MoD contract was not renewed.

The workers, from Vector Aerospace, in Fareham Road, Gosport, were due to carry out work on the Digital Automatic Flight Control System upgrade programme for the Royal Air Force’s Chinook helicopter fleet.

However, on June 15 they were told that Boeing Defence UK had decided to carry out work ‘in house’ in a row over costs.

The company entered into a consultation process the next day, with Vector saying the staff would be transferred to Boeing under a Transfer of Undertakings – Protection of Employment (TUPE) agreement – something which Boeing says it will not accept.

Steve Burnell, managing director, aircraft support Boeing Defence UK, said: ‘Boeing has made the decision not to award Vector Aerospace a contract on new Chinook modification work after a long and detailed study on the grounds of cost.

‘We worked with Vector Aerospace over many months on this opportunity. Unfortunately, they were not competitive on this occasion.

‘We will perform this work elsewhere, enabling us to deliver best value for money to the UK MoD.’

A spokesman from Vector Aerospace said: ‘It is currently in the hands of the lawyers. All the employees under the TUPE agreement will continue to be employed and paid through to the end of August. It is still in negotiations.’

A statement from the company said it would also not be taking on any apprentices next year.

Trade union Unite have been involved in the consultation.

A Unite spokesman said: ‘Unite is currently engaged in constructive negotiations with the Vector management. Until those talks have concluded, the union won’t be making any further statement.’

Approximately 60 of Vector’s 800 UK employees are affected.

One of Vector’s workers, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: ‘A lot of people are very angry.

‘People have worked there for years and we are being kicked out of the door.’

The remainder of Vector’s obligations under the 34-year Chinook Through Life Customer Support contract are unaffected. It will continue to support the RAF’s fleet of 60 Chinooks from its Fleetlands site in Gosport, with components supported at Vector’s Almondbank facility in Perthshire.