BAE still waiting for confirmation of deal which could stall Brough job losses

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 12 Dec 2017

BAE Systems says there is a "clear intent" from the Qatari government to buy six new aircraft but still no finalised order, after announcing a £5bn deal to build Typhoons at other manufacturing sites.

Union officials warned last month that staff at the Brough plant could be laid off a year earlier than expected if the Middle Eastern country's order of six new planes was not signed off in the next two months.

On Monday, the weapons firm did confirm a £5bn contract with the Qatari government to supply 24 new typhoon aircraft, which are built at the firm’s Warton site in Lancashire.

The announcement will not directly help worried staff in East Yorkshire as the company said a deal for Hawk aircraft, which the Brough site help manufacture, had not yet been completed.

But BAE Systems has said there is a "statement of intent" from Qatar that they will purchase six new Hawk trainer aircrafts - which would be built in Brough.

Workers were hauled into meetings yesterday morning to be told the devastating news

BAE announced in October that it planned to make 400 staff redundant by the end of 2019, but job losses could come earlier than expected if the Qatari government does not come through on a Memorandum of Agreement to build the six Hawk planes, initially announced in September.

READ MORE: Hull fuel card firm to expand recruitment drive after strong growth in 2017

A BAE spokesman said: “We welcome the agreement between the UK and Qatari governments stating their clear intention to proceed with the purchase of Hawk aircraft.”

Unions have been working hard to protect the jobs of manufacturing staff at Brough, with representatives joining local MPs in parliament to lobby for a new order to replace the Red Arrow’s current aircraft with newly produced planes.

Staff union convenor Neil Daw (centre) with Rob Trainor (left) and Jarrod Rex (right)

Speaking last month, Jarrod Rex, a craft union convener at the site, said: “We have work until Christmas for everybody but, in the New Year, that will finish. We will have people with nothing to do.

“In order to continue, that Statement of Intent needs to be turned into a solid contract before Christmas.

“Then we could reduce the rate of production to keep us going until November next year [2018] with the aim of catching another order.”

Shortly after the redundancy announcement, hopes were dashed by the revelation that plans for new Red Arrows aircraft had been pushed back until 2030.

Petitioners in Queen Victoria Square

A Unite spokesman said: “The UK’s aerospace workers are among the best in the world.

“The government should follow this news up by signalling its intention to protect highly skilled UK manufacturing jobs, by bringing forward an order to replace the Red Arrows’ ageing fleet of Hawk jets, as well as backing the advanced Hawk which is under development.”

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