Unions demand job guarantees for Hucknall Rolls-Royce workers

Union representatives at Rolls-Royce in Hucknall have demanded guarantees from Rolls-Royce over their long-term futures.
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The Hucknall facility has been TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment) transferred to ITP Aero – which is also owned by Rolls-Royce – which has put out a statement saying that all jobs at the Hucknall site were to be retained.

But members of the Unite union point out that ITP Aero cannot make guarantees about the workers’ long-term futures as ITP Aero itself is up for sale.

The new owners have stressed the importance of the Hucknall site to them and how they want to continue the legacy that has been created over more than 80 years at the facility.

Union members say workers at Rolls-Royce Hucknall have no long-term guarantees over their futures. Photo: Google EarthUnion members say workers at Rolls-Royce Hucknall have no long-term guarantees over their futures. Photo: Google Earth
Union members say workers at Rolls-Royce Hucknall have no long-term guarantees over their futures. Photo: Google Earth

But unions say this will count for nothing if, in six months time, ITP Aero has new owners who decide they don’t want to continue production in Hucknall.

A Unite spokesman at the Hucknall facility said: “Clearly, Rolls-Royce is framing it that they’re securing our jobs and they’re going to put some investment in and some work our way.

"But ultimately, they’re going to sell us, we’re on the list to be sold, along with ITP, so they cannot put any guarantees on T&Cs for our long-term future, or that the work was going to be done at Hucknall.

"ITP can say they’re keeping the jobs at Hucknall but ITP aren’t going to own ITP soon as ITP are being sold by Rolls-Royce and whoever buys it in six months time, or whenever, can do what they want with it because they’ll own it.

"ITP can talk about wanting to maintain Hucknall’s aeronautical legacy, I’m sure they do, but there’s no guarantees it’s going to be done at Hucknall.

"What it’s saying it, we’re going to put some work into Hucknall today, but whoever buys it come Christmas, say, might say say, we’re going to do that work in Spain or Brazil, or anywhere, it’s not securing any jobs in Hucknall at all.

"I’ve got no problem with ITP, they’ve been nothing by nice to us but there are no guarantees in place for jobs in Hucknall.

"Rolls-Royce have said to us that we’re being transferred over to ITP to enhance the sale of ITP to generate the income the company needs to survive as Rolls-Royce in the aftermath of the pandemic.

"They’re going to put long-term contracts into ITP to enhance the sale and that should, in itself guarantee our employment, but it doesn’t does it, not long-term.

“The reason they are selling the Hucknall site is because over the last 10 years, the portfolio of work done there has moved over from a make commodity to a buy commodity.

"So the buy commodity stuff we make, unfortunately for Rolls-Royce, is far too complicated to be in the buy commodity because they’ve tried to take stuff out over the years and had to put it back because it’s too complicated.

"So the management of the company decided we were only going to concentrate on making a certain part of engines and the other part they were going to buy in.

"But that’s an aspiration, the fact is Hucknall has remained under the Rolls-Royce umbrella for so long because they can’t sell it, they tried to sell it 10 years ago and couldn’t

"So putting them into the ITP portfolio provides an elegant solution for them as they can enhance the sale of ITP and sell Hucknall, killing two birds with one stone.

"What Rolls-Royce need to do, in an ideal situation, is put conditions on the sale that there will be no long-term redundancies in Hucknall.

"But they won’t do that and neither will ITP because that will have an effect on price because clearly, if you’ve to employ 600 people at at wage bill of around £25 million a year for the next five years, that’s £125 million coming off the sale price.

"So what they’re doing is saying they’re writing in contracts, strong contracts and so the company that buys you won’t be able to attack your terms and conditions because if they do, you’ll all leave and they won’t be able to produce the work and there’ll be massive penalty clauses in there.

"So they won’t do it and that in itself will protect you, but that’s not how it follows.

"Rolls-Royce can announce that there is a long-term commitment to work going into the Hucknall facility, which is great.

"But they can’t guarantee it’s going remain in the Hucknall facility because they’re selling the company.

"If it was regular TUPE transfer over to a company not also wholly owned by the same company, then the long-term contracts would go in and that would be the end of it.

"But this isn’t a regular TUPE transfer because the fact is we’re all up for sale.

"So now, we are reliant on us either having a really nice new owner, or us remaining in ITP.”

Rolls-Royce has been approached for comment.