Coronavirus: Working group set up to protect jobs at Renfrewshire Rolls-Royce plant

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Reuters

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Rolls-Royce warned it could cut 700 jobs from its Renfrewshire plant based on the reduced workload

The Scottish government has announced a working group will be set up with the aim of protecting jobs at a beleaguered Rolls-Royce plant.

The firm said in recent weeks that 700 jobs were at risk in Renfrewshire following the collapse of orders due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It is believed that most of the jobs are in the aerospace division.

Business minister Jamie Hepburn said the government was “in the process of establishing” a working group.

In a letter to Labour MSP Neil Bibby, Mr Hepburn said: “There is no doubt that the market projections for the aerospace sector and Rolls-Royce are grave but the Scottish government remains determined to understand what more can be done to save jobs and try to mitigate the devastating impact of recent announcements for the Inchinnan site.”

The group will include representatives of the company, the Scottish government, Scottish Enterprise and the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS).

Mr Hepburn said the working group will be “under no illusions as to the gravity of the task at hand”, adding: “The disruptive effect of the pandemic on the industry will also influence its future shape.

“The projections are that the path to recovery will be long and slow. The most positive estimates are that this will take at least 18 months.

“However, there is general consensus within the industry that suggests it will take five years or more to return to pre-Covid levels of activity – demand for new aircraft and aerospace services will only return following a significant upturn in demand for air travel.”

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About 700 jobs are at risk at the Renfrewshire plant

Mr Bibby said: “I am pleased after raising this with the first minister that the Scottish government is forming a group to support jobs in the aerospace sector.

“The jobs at Rolls-Royce Inchinnan are vital to the west of Scotland economy and no stone should be left unturned in saving them. There is a future for the workforce if Rolls Royce and governments at all levels stand by them.

“Labour has made clear we will work across parties to safeguard employment at this site.

“I will be monitoring the important work of the group closely.”

In the letter, the business minister also said there would soon be a cross-party group on the economy which will deal with a number of issues relating to the pandemic, as well as the establishment of an aerospace response group to look at the effects of the virus on the sector.

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