Hundreds of West Norfolk jobs look set to go after BAE Systems announced plans to make significant cuts to its workforce.
The company confirmed today that it is to shed almost 2,000 jobs across the country, of which 245 are split between RAF Marham and RAF Leeming, in North Yorkshire.
Officials have confirmed the “vast majority” of the 245 posts to be lost across the two bases will be at Marham, but have refused to say exactly how many will go.
But they have stressed that work to accommodate the new F-35 fighter jets at Marham will “underpin” their presence at the base for the long term, even as work to support the RAF’s current Tornado fleet, which is due to be taken out of active service in 2019, is wound down.
Chief executive Charles Woodburn said: “These actions are necessary and the right thing to do for our company, but unfortunately include proposed redundancies at a number of operations.
“I recognise this will be difficult news for some of our employees and we are committed to do everything we can to support those affected.”
South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss said: “I have sought reassurances from BAE that every assistance will be provided to redeploy staff in the many sectors within Marham.
“The arrival of the F35 in 2018 will provide even more opportunities and the range of jobs that will be available by 2019 will be extensive.
“BAE staff have a skill set that will be in high demand and I will work with all involved to ensure future employment is secure for 2019.”
But the region’s Labour MEP, Alex Mayer, condemned the decision.
She said: “This is hugely disappointing news and is hopelessly short-sighted.
“Norfolk needs high skilled jobs. But sadly when the government spends more and more of the defence budget abroad it is Norfolk workers that pay the price.
“This is not the kind of sector where you can turn on and off the tap of workers, it takes years of training.”