Prospect and GMB say companies must talk to unions to help safeguard future of the business


Unions have warned jobs are at risk as a result of the proposed £30bn merger of BAE Systems and EADS.

Prospect general secretary Mike Clancy said: “Private sector defence contractors have been under immense pressure because of cutbacks in government spending on defence.

“Whether the news of this merger brings reassurance or not for the workers depends on whether the new company will go for consolidation or growth.

“We are seeking early talks with the companies about the future strategic positioning of the business. We are puzzled as to why BAE has decided to merge with EADS, even though it cut formal ownership ties with Airbus only a few years ago.

“BAE Systems is a prime contractor of the Ministry of Defence,and this move clearly reflects fears about future profitability of those arrangements as defence markets shrink.

“Losing hundreds more highly skilled staff from the defence industry will be bad for the individuals affected, bad for local communities and bad for the long-term health of the UK’s defence infrastructure.”

Jim Moohan, GMB Scotland Senior Organiser and Chairman of the Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions in Scotland, said:  “That as we now have stability at present with job protection, capital investment, and recruitment of hundreds of apprentices, it is vitally important that we do not jeopardise the time and effort put into achieving this present situation which has taken at least a decade.

“BAE Systems are a very successful company. The government has a major part to play in any possible merger as this will have an effect on the UK sector as a whole shipbuilding, manufacturing, and technology.

“At present we are going through a recession period within the manufacturing base, we can ill afford to make mistakes from which the UK employment sector could very well face long term consequences.

“At this stage the trade unions would suggest that caution is the key player on this breaking news and whilst not trying to be negative we should not forget the decades where we struggled to reach a position of stability and job security.

“We would ask BAE Systems to ensure that from the very outset they engage totally with the trade unions with whom they have a very good relationship and also that the UK Government do not stand aside from a merger in which certainly we have a vital role to play going forward.”

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