British defence giant BAE Systems is set to announce up to ,000 job losses as it struggles to secure orders for the Eurofighter Typhoon in the wake of cuts to defence budgets by partner nations, British media reported yesterday.
The Sunday Telegraph and Sky News said up to 3000 workers could lose their jobs, all of them in Britain, as BAE prepares for a slowdown in orders to core markets — including the joint Eurofighter project. The Sunday Telegraph said the job losses could come as early as next week at the firm’s military aircraft division at two plants in northern England.
BAE has a 33 percent stake in the Eurofighter, alongside EADS and Finmeccanica and has received orders for some 550 planes from the four partner nations involved — the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain. A spokeswoman for BAE said the company would not be drawn on possible job cut figures, which she said were speculative. “As a company we haven’t officially announced anything yet and our approach to this is, as and when we do, we would inform our staff first,” she said.
But in a statement the company, which is Britain’s biggest manufacturer, said it had informed staff it is “reviewing our operations across various businesses” to make sure it was best placed to secure future business.
BAE added: “In order to bridge the gap between current demand and future anticipated export contracts the production rate on the current Typhoon programme for the partner nations will be slowed.”
The firm said it was actively pursuing Typhoon contracts in India, Japan, Oman and Malaysia and that exports of the fighter aircraft “remained a priority” for the business.
The timing of the possible layoffs in the defence industry will come as an embarrassment to the Conservative-led coalition government which is seeking to rebalance the economy away from service industries and towards manufacturing.
BAE has already slashed 15 000 jobs globally in the past two years. Ian King, BAE’s chief executive, warned in February that more job cuts could be needed.