The munitions manufacturer BAE Systems could cut as many as 60 jobs at its Washington plant. 

A BAE spokesperson confirmed yesterday that the company will be cutting jobs on Wearside. The job losses are believed to have been recommended by a review BAE Systems has carried out into its UK operations. 

The spokesperson did, however, say that the company would also be creating new jobs, especially for apprentices and recent university graduates. 

The spokesperson said, “We are in consultation with our trade unions about potential job losses at some of our sites.” 

“However, we are also creating new jobs in order to grow our business and increasing the recruitment of apprentices and graduates fivefold over the next five years.”

“We hope to have completed our business transformation by the end of the year. We will have gone through the process to know which roles we have to lose and found people for the new roles that will be created.”

“Wherever possible, we will try to retain people for the new roles available and we also have a very good record on voluntary release.”

The job losses may be partly due to the British Army’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, which has meant there is less demand for munitions. 

A spokesperson for the Unite union said, “Our representatives are working with the company and we are saying that any job losses have to be on a voluntary redundancy basis.”

BAE Systems has occupied its Washington site since 2011. The state-of-the-art plant, which the company shares with Rolls Royce, cost £75 million.

Built on the site of Washington’s old Dunlop factory, the plant boasts a gym, access to the internet, a learning centre and a drying room for employees who cycle to work.

The plant, which was opened by the Princess Royal, focuses on the machining and treatment of mortar, artillery and tank ammunition.

The news about BAE systems is not the only recent jobs blow for the Sunderland area. Grundfos has announced plans for up to 50 redundancies at its pump-manufacturing plant in Castletown.   

(Featured image courtesy of Wikipedia Creative Commons)   

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