Britain’s biggest and world third largest defence firm, BAE Systems, is reportedly planning to cut more than 1,000 manufacturing jobs.
Sky news reports that many of the cuts will affect the company’s Warton factory in Preston, Lancashire, but there will also be job losses at other locations.
BAE is expected to make an announcement later Monday or Tuesday.
The company, which makes the Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft and Britain’s nuclear submarines, employs 34,600 people in the UK, nearly half of its 83,000-strong global workforce.
While not confirming the job cuts, BAE said in a statement: “BAE Systems continually reviews its operations to make sure we are performing as effectively and efficiently as possible, delivering our commitments to existing customers and ensuring we are best placed to secure future business. If and when there are any changes proposed we are committed to communicating with our employees and their representatives first.”
The decision does not appear to be related to the Brexit vote, although it is likely to feature in discussions between the Prime Minister, Theresa May, and UK business leaders on Monday. The job cuts are reportedly linked to a slowdown in production of the Typhoon, amid uncertainty about the timing of a large order from Saudi Arabia.
This will be one of the first major move by Charles Woodburn, BAE chief executive who took over from Ian King on 1 July
Woodburn said in August: “We obviously have to review our [Typhoon] production demand very carefully. We are confident that we will win further Typhoon orders, what we can’t be confident around is the timing.”
Earlier in August BAE, reported an 11 percent rise in half-year underlying profits to £945m and said it was on track to meet its full-year target. It is the third-biggest defence manufacturer in the world, with key markets in the US, Australia and Saudi Arabia.
The move is certain to ignite a furious political row because of the timing of the cuts, with heightened sensitivity over workforce reductions at major exporters amid uncertainty over the terms of Brexit.