Workers accuse BAE over jobs axe

Workers facing redundancy at defence giant BAE Systems have vented their anger at the company, accusing the firm of not doing enough to save jobs and of "bailing out" of a factory which has been a manufacturing site for over 100 years.

Chairman Dick Olver said job cuts at the plant in Brough, East Yorkshire, were "unavoidable and imperative" because of the challenges facing the company.

Hundreds of workers travelled to the company's AGM in central London, staging a noisy protest outside, wearing T-shirts bearing the slogan Battle for Brough, and Brough Justice.

A number attended the meeting, including David Bird, who was close to tears when he told the chairman during a question and answer session that he faced redundancy after 21 years at the company.

Steve Olsen, told the board that BAE was not doing enough to save jobs at Brough, saying: "You are bailing out very easily. The company can do more for people who work at Brough."

Paul Bell, asked how the board could be given a pay rise when so many workers were being sacked.

He told the chairman that Brough had been a manufacturing site for more than 100 years, with generations of families working there.

He said the decision to end manufacturing had been called Operation Bosworth, complaining that this echoed the name of the last great War of the Roses.

"I call for an investigation into this - it is totally disrespectful. And how can you justify your own remuneration packages? You have not performed and are giving yourselves a pay rise. We have performed well but we are being sacked."

Mr Olver said it was the first time he had heard the term Operation Bosworth and offered apologies. He acknowledged the effect of the job cuts in Brough but said the company had to respond to the changing demands of its customers.