The Rolls-Royce factory in Barnoldswick, Lancashire, has been saved and with it 350 jobs and a community protected from ruin, thanks to a deal reached between industriAll Europe affiliate Unite and the company's management.
Since October 2020, Rolls-Royce workers had been protesting the company’s announcement to transfer the production of its Trent jet engine blade work to Singapore. It was feared that without equivalent work to replace it, the move would signal the end of the Barnoldswick site.
The prolonged struggle of the Rolls-Royce workers, including 9 weeks of strike action, attracted wide attention and triggered international solidarity and support. IndustriAll European Trade Union and its sister organisation industriALL Global Union jointly called on Rolls-Royce management to develop replacement products, invest, and guarantee jobs and the long-term future of the plant at Barnoldswick.
The deal, which has been supported overwhelmingly by the workforce, will give the historic site a new lease of life as a core manufacturing facility and host to a new ‘centre of excellence’, training tomorrow's engineers to meet the challenges of the climate emergency.
The main details of the deal are:
- A ten-year manufacturing guarantee for the site
- A guaranteed minimum headcount of 350 workers
- The creation of a ‘centre of excellence’ training school supporting the development and manufacturer of zero carbon technologies and advanced manufacturing excellence
- A guarantee of a two year no compulsory redundancy agreement to facilitate discussions on a plan to develop advanced manufacturing work, supporting carbon free energy generation, along with synthetic fuels and green technologies
IndustriAll Europe Deputy General Secretary Isabelle Barthès:
“We warmly congratulate the Rolls-Royce workers and our member organisation Unite for having won the battle and for reaching this deal. Retaining advanced manufacturing in Barnoldswick will reassure workers and the local community and ensure the long-term future of the site. It is also a win for Europe as it is absolutely vital that Europe keeps its aerospace manufacturing base and avoids the loss of highly skilled jobs.”