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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Jobs sort of saved

UNITE the Union has declared victory in the struggle to save the Rolls-Royce plant at Barnoldswick, in Lancashire. Nine weeks of strike action to save 350 jobs has been suspended for members to consider a “landmark deal” that would save 350 jobs and give the site a bright future.

Last summer Rolls-Royce announced that it was transferring the production of its Trent jet engine blade work to Singapore. Established in 1943, the site first manufactured Lancaster bombers and later developed early jet engines.

Targeted strike action began on 6th November last year, which ran until Christmas Eve. Workers then returned to the picket lines at the start of 2021. In total, the workforce has undertaken nine weeks of strike action.

Details are, as yet, scarce, but the union’s press release said that the plan, which is supported by all the site’s shop stewards, “will give the historic site, which has sat at the heart of the community for 80 years, a new lease of life as the company’s centre of training and excellence and cement Rolls-Royce as a key player in green and emerging technologies”.

This is positive but it appears that the Singapore- bound jobs will still be going.

Next week the works will meet to decide on acceptance of the deal.

Steve Turner, Unite’s assistant general secretary for manufacturing, said: “This workforce, their union and this community have battled long and hard for a brighter future and there is now very real hope of this on the horizon.

“The determination and courage that they have shown, even in the bleakest of moments, has been inspiring and I am hugely proud to represent these workers and play our part in giving this community a future.

“I hope working people everywhere take inspiration from this dispute. Never give up, there is always hope – and Unite will fight for you with every step of the way.

“We look forward to resuming discussions with the members at the earliest possibility as we continue the work of securing a great future for this site so that it can continue to play its part in the successful rebuilding of UK manufacturing.”