Aerospace firm Rolls-Royce has announced plans to shed nearly 400 jobs at one of its plants, a union has claimed.
The firm is consulting on shedding the jobs at the Ansty site near Coventry in the Midlands, according to trade union Unite. The announcement puts 378 jobs at risk, the union says, adding that staff were informed of the company's plans in an internal memo.
Unite has further claimed Rolls-Royce is proposing to shut the plant in the next few years but has put the blame for the company's decision on the Government for what it called "short-sighted" cuts to the national defence budget.
Ian Waddell, Unite's national officer for aerospace and shipbuilding, said the company had sent an internal memo to staff detailing its proposals. He said: "The blame for the loss of these highly skilled jobs in the key defence sector lies with the Government and its short-sighted determination to ram through massive spending cuts in the defence budget.
"Once again, Unite calls for a coherent defence industrial strategy to be drawn up as matter of urgency to safeguard jobs and a defence industry at which Britain excels. This is vital - otherwise more high-skilled jobs will be lost, perhaps forever. There is a very long timescale for consultation and implementation, so we hope that compulsory redundancies will be avoided.
"However, the underlying reason for the job losses is the Government's defence spending cuts announced a couple of years ago. The scrapping of the Harrier jumpjet fleet, for instance, has led to redundancies at the Ansty factory, which will close.
"Meanwhile, work from Germany will be transferred to Rolls-Royce's site at Bristol. Unite will be seeking an early meeting with management to discuss the implications for our members and we will taking every step to safeguard their employment now and in the future." He said bosses at Rolls-Royce had acted "fairly" by giving as much notice as possible to the staff of the company's plans to shut down the plant.
The 200-acre Rolls-Royce site at Ansty employs about 800 people and handles the refit and repair of both aeroplane and marine engines. Components for the company's Trent series of civil aviation engines are also manufactured on the site.
A Rolls-Royce spokesman said: "We are in consultation with trade unions over reductions in our defence workforce at Ansty. We hope to achieve this without compulsory redundancies.
"Ansty also conducts civil aerospace business which is not affected. In a large and complex company there is a continuing need to align resource and customer demand. Overall group employment at Rolls-Royce remains fairly constant."