Deal secures Rolls-Royce Barnoldswick factory future following strike action

Rolls-Royce manufactures jet engines, photo USAF/Rick-Goodfriend/CC

Rolls-Royce manufactures jet engines, photo USAF/Rick-Goodfriend/CC   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Socialist Party reporters

The future of the Rolls-Royce factory in Barnoldswick, Lancashire, and its 350 jobs has been secured after a deal was agreed between the workers’ union Unite and the company. It was supported overwhelmingly by the workers and follows nine weeks of determined strike action.

The future of the factory was thrown into doubt last summer, after Rolls-Royce announced that it was transferring the production of its jet engine blade work to Singapore. Unite members voted for strike action and launched a campaign to save the Barnoldswick site.

The strikes, which received widespread solidarity from the community and trade union movement, began on 6 November 2020 and ran until Christmas Eve. Workers then returned to the picket lines at the start of 2021.

The deal struck by Unite includes:

  • A ten-year manufacturing guarantee for the site
  • A guaranteed minimum headcount of 350 workers
  • The creation of a ‘centre of excellence’ training school supporting the development and manufacture of zero-carbon technologies and advanced manufacturing excellence

A guarantee of a two-year no-compulsory redundancy agreement to facilitate discussions on a plan to develop advanced manufacturing work, supporting carbon-free energy generation, along with synthetic fuels and green technologies

Ross Quinn, the Unite regional officer with responsibility for Barnoldswick, says: “When many could be forgiven for thinking there was nothing that could be done, our Unite reps led these workers and the town of Barnoldswick and collectively they stood as one to say ‘no way’.

“They united, taking to the picket line in all weathers, to fight back against closure, and won. Today’s news is their victory and it is 100% deserved.”