Union leaders have expressed dismay at plans to axe 230 jobs at defence giant BAE Systems, including the closure of a factory in Wolverhampton.
The company said it had started consultation on the proposed closure of its manufacturing site in Wolverhampton, part of its vehicles business, with the likely loss of 70 jobs.
A further 160 jobs are set to go at other sites in the same business, including 100 in Newcastle upon Tyne.
“The vehicles business will now focus on completing current manufacturing programmes and providing support services to the British Army and other international customers.
“These support services will be consolidated on one site in Telford, Shropshire, with a proposal that services currently provided at Newcastle and Wolverhampton will be transferred to Telford during 2011 and early 2012,” said BAE.
Jan Soderstrom, managing director of BAE Systems’ vehicles business, said: “We have consistently said that we must reduce costs to remain competitive and secure a future for the business.
“We are creating a more efficient business to ensure we are the right size and have the right mix of skills to meet current and future customer needs.
“We regret the impact that this will have on our employees. We will work with employees and trade unions to explore ways of mitigating these proposed job losses, and do everything we can to support our people throughout this process.
“We will continue to meet all planned deliveries to our customers throughout this transition.”
Tony Hammond of the Prospect trade union said the cuts were “another nail in the coffin” of military equipment manufacturing in the UK, adding: “It shows again that defence cuts are hitting the private sector.
“The loss of valuable skills is a great concern to Prospect and is yet another blow to the UK’s defence infrastructure.”