Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

Posted on 22 May 2020 at 11:26 GMT

Strong union response needed against job cuts at Rolls Royce

Rolls-Royce is rumoured to be cutting more jobs in its Derby plant, photo USAF/Rick-Goodfriend/CC

Rolls-Royce is rumoured to be cutting more jobs in its Derby plant, photo USAF/Rick-Goodfriend/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Ian Hunter, Derby Socialist Party

The announcement on 20 May by Rolls Royce to cut 9,000 jobs worldwide will have a severe impact on the company's UK civil aerospace division.

Although Rolls Royce has not yet stated the specific redundancy numbers for the UK operations, the factories in Derby which employ 9,000 workers, mainly in civil aerospace, are likely to bear the brunt.

The company cites the Covid-19 pandemic crisis and it's hugely devastating effects on the aviation industry. Plane manufacturers such as Boeing and Airbus, Rolls Royce's main customers, expect the recession in aviation to continue for years to come.

For Derby, the effects on the workers, their families, and the local economy will be shattering. In a statement the Unite union describes Rolls Royce's actions as "shameful opportunism".

Steve Turner, Unite assistant general secretary for manufacturing said: "...Britain's taxpayers deserve a more responsible approach to a national emergency" and he criticised the company for running "away from their responsibilities to workers".

Steve Turner goes on to say: "We will leave no stone unturned in our fight to protect skilled jobs...".

Unite intends to meet with the company "to convince them to take a different approach" and to ask the government for assistance. The Unite statement calls on the government to "establish a National Council for Recovery and work with us".

However, Rolls Royce is looking to save 1.3 billion, with proposed redundancies set to meet half the savings target.

Warren East, CEO of Rolls Royce, said that the aim is to make "more than half" of the job cuts this year, as expected airplane production is likely to be a third less than last year.

A large portion of Rolls Royce's profits come from regular engine-servicing fees, which will be severely hit by grounded air fleets.

East remarked that while many governments are assisting aviation businesses in the short term, Rolls Royce "must respond to market conditions for the medium term", because "governments cannot replace sustainable customer demand that is simply not there".

For Derby the current redundancies add to the 3,000 jobs cut from 2018, and there is every possibility the company will come back again for more in the near future.

It is essential there is a strong union response, backed by a mobilised Derby community to fight these job cuts. The union must seize the initiative and demand there are no job cuts, and nationalisation as a real, necessary and viable option.

A serious fighting campaign that could start with a socially distanced protest and that prepares the ground for an occupation if necessary, could have a huge impact and raise the sights of workers.

Nearly 50 years ago, the Tory government of Ted Heath was forced to nationalise Rolls Royce. Socialist public ownership would allow the development of an alternative plan, under democratic workers' control, of the production of socially-useful products and services, to shift the emphasis from making for profit to making for need.

This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 22 May 2020 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation


Your message: 


Related links:

Rolls Royce:

triangleRolls Royce threatens 8,000 job losses

triangleRolls-Royce: fight all job cuts!

triangleWorkers fight back against race to the bottom!

trianglePensions strike at Rolls Royce

triangleObituary: John Sharpe: 1953-2016


triangleCouncil finance disaster: set emergency no-cuts budgets and fight for funds!

triangleSafe protests against Tory corona chaos continue

triangleJohnson's plan terrifies me - readers react to lifting lockdown

triangleSafe social-distancing car-cavalcade protests


trianglePCS pay claim: Vital work unrecognised

triangleCoordinated union struggle needed to save jobs and nationalise JCB

triangleEquity union general secretary election


triangleProtect every job, nationalise don't subsidise

triangleFurlough: We are not 'all in the same boat'


triangleCall to Derby Labour members: Don't stand against Chris Williamson

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



Equity union general secretary election



Pandemic doesn't stop Socialist Party educating organisers: northern meeting


Labour Party

Blairite general secretary elected - Starmer's takeover of Labour Party consolidated



Fight racism and class inequality, fight capitalism!



Hospital closed following rampant spread of Covid-19



Coordinated union struggle needed to save jobs and nationalise JCB



PCS pay claim: Vital work unrecognised



Schools... no going back until it's safe



Reject the university employers' offer on pay, workload and casualisation



Fight continues for safety on London buses


Fighting Fund

We need readers' support to fight capitalist crisis



Fight P&O's billionaire bosses' jobs cut plan



Schools aren't safe



Energy firm plans to make 2,600 redundant



Hull Trades Council debates workers' political representation

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 07748 534 891

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041



Alphabetical listing

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020