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Rolls-Royce Lancashire workers vote to strike over offshoring plan

By Frank Prenesti

Date: Monday 26 Oct 2020

(Sharecast News) - Workers at an historic Rolls-Royce plant in Lancashire have voted overwhelmingly to take strike action in response to an offshoring plan that could result in 350 job cuts.

The company in August said it wanted to shift production of blades for its Trent engine to Singapore from the Barnoldswick factory - where Britain's first jet engines were produced.

Unite union members at the site have now voted by 94% in favour of industrial action after a ballot last month.

"The entire town is firmly behind them. Barnoldswick was the birthplace of the jet engine, Rolls-Royce has been the principal employer for nearly 70 years and they are not prepared to let that disappear without a fight," said Unite regional officer Ross Quinn.

"Following Unite's clear mandate for industrial action we are now giving Rolls-Royce the chance to reflect and return to the negotiating table to provide firm commitments to preserve highly-skilled work at Barnoldswick."

The targeted strike action will begin on Friday November 6 at 0630 GMT and end on Friday November 27 at 1900 GMT, the union said in a statement.

"Unite fully understands the challenges the company faces as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic but it is simply immoral to be asking the government for financial support and then using that money to make workers redundant and offshore their jobs abroad," Quinn said.

Rolls-Royce is seeking £5bn of investment in the form of a £2bn rights issue, £2bn in bonds up £1bn in UK government support. It posted a half-year loss for 2020 of £5.3bn as it felt the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on travel as airlines were forced to ground most of their fleets.

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