Hundreds of jobs could still be lost at one of Barnoldswick’s major employers, according to Pendle Borough Council’s deputy leader.
The historic Rolls-Royce site will become the company’s ‘centre of training and excellence’ in the development of green technologies.
Rolls-Royce planned to offshore the production of its Trent engine blades to Singapore, before a nine-week Unite strike brought about this agreement. Some jet engine components could still be offshored, causing worry about the site’s long-term future.
Barnoldswick Town Councillor David Whipp (Liberal Democrat), who also sits as Deputy Leader of Pendle Borough Council, said “there’ll be a downturn in the number of highly skilled engineering jobs.
“It’s vital that investment in developing new technologies goes hand in hand with creating new jobs. Losing manufacturing production and hundreds of well paid jobs will affect companies in the supply chain, our town centre businesses and even the local housing market.”
During the industrial action, Rolls-Royce said that “the global pandemic has hit our business hard”. They described the proposed offshoring as an attempt to return to positive cashflow by the end of 2021.
The site is described as the ‘home of the Lancaster Bomber’ and the ‘cradle of the jet engine’. It has been one of the town’s largest employers since it opened in 1943.
Whipp said, “The Government should have acted to prevent the Crown Jewels of British manufacturing being exported to Singapore, but it looks like this is now inevitable.
“A higher proportion of working age people in Barnoldswick is employed in manufacturing than anywhere in the country. With Brexit as well as the pandemic, the area is very vulnerable to further downturns.”