Sheffield City Council responds to demands to 'pressure' Rolls-Royce into dropping redundancy plans

A top Sheffield councillor has responded to calls to pressure Rolls-Royce to drop redundancy plans.

By David Walsh
Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 4:45 pm
Updated Friday, 5th March 2021, 8:55 am

Coun Mazher Iqbal said it was ‘awful’ to see the firm axing staff in South Yorkshire and the city council would ‘do all it can’ to support workers.

He was responding to calls by Labour colleagues and unions for the authority to ‘play its part in protecting these jobs by putting pressure on Rolls-Royce to withdraw these proposals’.

The firm employs 200 at its Advanced Blade Casting Facility on the Advanced Manufacturing Park. Some 85 workers are on furlough.

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Coun Mazher Iqbal.

Last month, the company warned 75 jobs were at risk due to the impact of Covid on air travel.

Coun Iqbal, cabinet member for business and investment at Sheffield City Council, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on businesses worldwide, who have suffered an incredibly challenging 12 months.

“Sadly, Sheffield has been no less affected and we have seen redundancies across all sectors of our economy, including retail, leisure and hospitality.

“It is awful to see that Rolls Royce has also been affected and is now having to make redundancies in South Yorkshire, as well as other locations across the country and globally.

Rolls-Royce employs 200 at its Advanced Blade Casting Facility on the Advanced Manufacturing Park.

“The Council will do all it can to provide support for those who have lost their jobs and I hope that moving forward from the pandemic, we can begin to once again drive growth in our region and create new investment and employment opportunities.”

Sheffield Heeley and Central Constituency Labour Parties are demanding the authority does ‘all it can’ to prevent job losses after a ‘vast amount’ of public money was invested in the Advanced Manufacturing Park.

Rolls-Royce says it is working with Unite to reduce losses through voluntary severance or redeployment. The next nearest Rolls site is in Derby.

A spokeswoman for Rolls-Royce said the government furlough scheme was a short-term solution and they were looking at a much longer term impact on the business due to the pandemic.

She added: “Last year, we announced a major reorganisation of our civil aerospace business due to the unprecedented impact of the Covid-19 pandemic which has resulted in a drop in engine flying hours and weaker demand from our customers for large engines and our services products.

“As part of the global restructuring programme we recently advised our team in Rotherham of a proposal to reduce the number of employees there by 75.

“We are continuing to work closely with the trade union to mitigate as many of the roles as possible through voluntary severence and redeployment.

“We understand this is a very worrying time for our employees in Rotherham and our number one priority is to provide support to them and their families as we work through this process.

“We currently have around 85 employees at Rotherham on furlough. However, it is clear that aviation will take several years to recover and we must continue to further reduce our cost base so that we can safeguard the future of Rolls-Royce.

“The government furlough scheme is a short-term solution and unfortunately we are looking at much longer term impact on our business.”

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Thank you. Nancy Fielder, editor.