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The best of times?

Government support for SMR reactors is good news for the engineers and other staff at Rolls-Royce, but the company still seems hell-bent on screwing every ounce of profit out them.

At Rolls-Royce, workers who rallied round to help produce ventilators for intensive care units were faced with redundancies and site closures. They have had to fight tooth and nail to make the company honour its promises to keep turbine fan work at the Barnoldswick factory, for example.

The word decarbonisation has a hollow sound when it comes with attacks on working conditions. Rolls-Royce’s site at Bristol, Filton, is set become the first “net zero” factory in the company in 2022. But the workers there, as throughout Rolls-Royce, lost their final salary pension scheme in May 2020 after the company used the excuse of Covid to close it.

“Astoundingly the Company fails to accept that we have a legitimate right to defend our Negotiated Agreements and also refuses to engage to resolve the position through valid dispute resolution procedures,” the Unite and GMB unions told their Rolls-Royce members in October 2021.

In an astonishing U-turn the company now faces a skills shortage and in the last quarter of the year has started a recruitment drive, mainly because it let too many go in the reduction of the workforce by 9,000 throughout 2019/2020. As is so often typical of the aerospace industry, re-hiring of redundant or retired staff is also taking place.

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