A trade union has warned bosses at Rolls-Royce are looking into the long-term viability of the Inchinnan site after axing 700 jobs yesterday.

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Unite the union said the global aerospace company would review its voluntary redundancy scheme, which opened yesterday, and this would then lead to a review of the site and its viability beyond 2020.

The Inchinnan factory manufactures compressor blades as well as maintenance, repair and overhaul services. All of the 700 jobs are expected to go in its services division, rather than the manufacturing side, as demand has dropped dramatically as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The axe has been hanging over staff at the site after the company announced at the end of last month it would have to make serious job cuts as a result of the global crisis.

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Yesterday it confirmed 700 jobs are to go at its Inchinnan plant – more than half of its 1,300-strong workforce.

Unite regional officer Debbie Hutchings said: “Rolls-Royce have informed workers at Inchinnan that they are now opening a voluntary redundancy scheme.

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“Unite has been informed that there will subsequently be a review of the take-up of this scheme, which would then lead to a review of the site and its viability past 2020.

“The reality of the situation is that we could see 700 jobs move out of Inchinnan with vital jobs and skills being lost forever to the Scottish economy.

“The impact on the supply chain would be far reaching and it would have a devastating impact on communities and families.

“Unite repeats our call for Rolls-Royce to step back from dealing a major blow to Scottish manufacturing.

“We are entering a critical phase of the process in saving the Inchinnan site, and it now requires the urgent intervention from both the Scottish and UK Governments to save thousands of jobs.”

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Disgraced Renfrewshire North and West MSP Derek Mackay, who has not spoken publicly since February 5 when he apologised for sending inappropriate messages to a 16-year-old boy, called on all governments to work together to save the jobs.

He told the Express: “This is devastating news for employees at Rolls-Royce in Inchinnan.

“The Renfrewshire workforce cannot be sacrificed because of the current economic situation, when the expertise and performance of the plant is not in question.

“I urge the company and governments to work to find a resolution to save the jobs which are affected.”

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, added: “The job losses are devastating news which will hit workers, their families and the wider community during these difficult times.

“Throughout the period since the proposed job losses were first announced, the Scottish Government has made clear many times that it is keen to sit down with Rolls-Royce and support the operation at Inchinnan in whatever way it can. That remains the case and it is vital that the firm engages meaningfully and in good faith to protect jobs and people’s livelihoods.

“Even at this late stage, there is still time for management to have substantive discussions with unions and the wider workforce about what action is needed to weather the current economic storm.

“There is no denying the unprecedented challenges the aviation and aerospace industry finds itself in during this health pandemic. However, those challenges are best met by a collective effort by management, workers and unions to map out a future that secures employment and potential long-term growth once we are through the worst of the current crisis.”

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Tom Arthur, MSP for Renfrewshire South, said his office was ready to help any workers affected.

He added: “Many of my constituents work at the Inchinnan site, and I have written to the Scottish Government’s Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills urging the government to do all that it can to support these employees.

“The workers at Rolls-Royce are highly skilled and we must work to retain their talent and skills sets as the Scottish economy moves forward following this pandemic.

Neil Bibby MSP for West Scotland said: “This is a dark day for the workforce at Inchinnan.

"When the crisis is over and civil aviation recovers, there will be a future for this industry.

“This a highly-skilled, loyal workforce with unparalleled experience.

“They contribute a huge amount to our economy and they cannot be abandoned.

“That’s why I am calling for emergency assistance and a cross-party task force to save these jobs.”

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “Coronavirus has had a huge impact on the local and national economy and I’m saddened to hear of the latest news at Rolls-Royce, whose Inchinnan facility employs many Renfrewshire residents and contributes greatly to advanced manufacturing.

“We are in contact to offer our support wherever we can.”

A Rolls-Royce spokesperson said the voluntary redundancy scheme opened following constructive talks with trade union and employee representatives.

They added: “Offering voluntary severance is an important step as we resize our business to adapt to the enormous impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the aviation industry.

“At our Inchinnan facility we have indicated that the likely number of impacted roles will be around 700 based on our immediate load reduction requirements. These roles will be predominantly from our services team, which has seen a dramatic drop in demand since the start of the pandemic and we do not expect that to recover in the medium term.

“As a result we are considering withdrawing our services capability from the site entirely.

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“We have briefed the Scottish Government and other local stakeholders on the business impact of Covid-19 on Rolls-Royce and are keeping them up to date as our consultation process progresses.

“This number of proposed job losses is a terrible prospect for our people and the communities that are impacted, and we understand how devastating the news must be for everyone at the Inchinnan facility.”