Unions press United Kingdom government to save defence industry jobs

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Union leaders are pressing the British government to ensure new fighter aircraft are built in the U.K.as they seek to avert job cuts at defence giant BAE Systems. There will be cutbacks in BAE's military, maritime and intelligence services divisions under moves to streamline the group overall.

However the company said that it expects an order from Qatar, which in late September signalled its intention to buy 24 Typhoons, in a deal that BAE has now revealed also includes six of its Hawk trainer planes. "As a result, the group has today announced a proposal to reduce the workforce of the military air and information business by up to 1,400 roles".

A total of 750 jobs will be cut at the company's facilities in Warton and Samlesbury.

BAE's chief executive Charles Woodburn said organisational changes would ceate a more streamlined organisation, with a sharper competitive edge and a renewed focus on technology.

"Those actions are necessary and the right thing to do for our company, but unfortunately include proposed redundancies at a number of operations", he said on Tuesday.

"The company assures us that reductions can be managed on a voluntary basis as far as possible", she told lawmakers.

Some jobs will also go from the company's cyber intelligence business in London and Guildford. Qatar said last month it meant to buy six Hawks in addition to the Typhoons.

BAE is now fulfilling outstanding Typhoon orders from the Royal Air Force and Oman, with the latter - along with Saudi Arabia - also accounting for remaining Hawk orders.

Britain's Unite union vowed to fight the "devastatingly short-sighted" job losses that it said would undermine the sovereign defence capability of one of the European Union's top two military powers.

THE decision to axe hundreds of jobs at BAE systems is a "further blow" for the city's shipyard workers, a union has said.

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