WORKERS were left stunned yesterday after defence giant BAE Systems’ decision to cut hundreds of jobs across its maritime sector.
Stephen Morgan, MP for Portsmouth South wrote to Theresa May last night calling on her to address the matter ‘urgently’ with approximately 375 jobs to be cut in the area.
The Labour MP said employees deserved ‘far better’ than to be forced into redundancy.
BAE’s voluntary redundancy scheme, which is part of a bigger plan to cut 1,915 jobs across the UK, has left people fearing for Portsmouth’s wider economy.
David Mitchard, managing director of maritime services at BAE, said the scheme is down to corporate restructuring in a bid to improve efficiency and better meet customer needs.
Mr Morgan 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 am yet to be convinced of BAE Systems’ justification that these job losses represent a normal corporate restructuring. After all, BAE Systems are not in a normal market positionStephen Morgan, MP for Portsmouth South
‘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.’
In his letter to Mrs May, the MP said that he was not convinced of BAE’s justification for the job cuts and said the government must put pressure on the company.
He wrote: ‘I am yet to be convinced of BAE Systems’ justification that these job losses represent a normal corporate restructuring. After all, BAE Systems are not in a normal market position.
‘They enjoy a near monopoly and therefore owe their employees and the government, a special responsibility.
‘I would hope that as one of BAE’s largest customers, the government can exert suitable pressure in advocating for their workforce.’
He added that the government needed to back the defence manufacturing industry by delivering a strategy to save the jobs.
Members of the public took to social media to express their concerns. Gary Shipp said: ‘Ship building sold out to Scotland.’
John Knight said: ‘Well there we go. One more nail in the coffin marked “used to be a big power once”.’
He added: ‘And we are about to complete a deal that will leave us exposed as an offshore outpost of Europe. Welcome to the new age of Britannia. We used to be a superpower.’