Mildenhall/Cambridge: Unite union vows to fight Marshall job cuts

Cambridge Airport, owned by and home of the Marshall Group.

Cambridge Airport, owned by and home of the Marshall Group. - Credit: Contributed

The Unite trade union has pledged to “do everying we can” to minimise job losses at Marshall Aerospace & Defence Group sites in Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.

The Cambridge-based company announced earlier this week that its site at Mildenhall, where it has been servicing lorries on behalf of the Army since 2005, will close early next year with the loss of 39 jobs.

And it also warned that it was planning further cut-backs which could see a further 200 jobs go at its main site at Cambridge Airport.

One contract for work carried out at the leasehold-site in Mildenhall has already come to an end and another is due to finish during the first quarter of 2014, while workloads at the company’s Cambridge headquarters are also said to be falling as a result of a general decline in Ministry of Defence contracts.

The company has now launched consultations with staff at both sites, including offers of voluntary redundancy and redeployment, although some compulsory redundancies appear inevitable. The company says that engineering roles are most likely to be affect, but redundancies are being sought across the board.

However, Unite regional office Paul Bouch said today it was vital to retain as many as possbile of the jobs across the two locations.

“This is a cruel blow for these workers and their families in the run-up to Christmas and we want to work with the management to mitigate the loss of jobs,” he said.

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“Next week there will be a series of meetings held on site for groups of about 20 employees to consider the offer of voluntary redundancy which closes on November 29. We will then know the impact on compulsory redundancies. At a shop stewards’ meeting yesterday it was agreed that we would do everything we can to bring down the number of compulsory job losses.”

Mr Bouch added: “Cambridge can’t afford to lose these skilled engineering jobs. The city needs a balanced economy and can’t rely on the two universities, Addenbrooke’s Hospital and the companies operating in Silicon Fen. It also needs a strong manufacturing and engineering base. Unite will be fighting very hard to retain as many jobs as possible at Marshall in the days and weeks ahead.”

Marshall Aerospace & Defence Group is part of the Cambridge-based Marshall Group which also includes the regional car dealership Marshal Motor Group and Cambridge Airport.

When the planned job losses were announced earlier this week, Terry Holloway, group support executive for the Marshall Group, said it was “never easy” to cut jobs but the business had to remain competitive in order to win new contracts.