Nearly 400 engineering jobs in the Midlands were on the chopping block today after Rolls-Royce announced a mass layoff.
The defence contractor said it was cutting 378 jobs - nearly half the total - at its Ansty plant near Coventry, with the workers' Unite union blaming "short-sighted" defence cuts.
National officer Ian Waddell said the company had sent an internal memo to staff detailing its proposals.
He said: "The blame for the loss of these highly skilled jobs in the key defence sector lies with the government and its short-sighted determination to ram through massive spending cuts in the defence budget.
"Once again, Unite calls for a coherent defence industrial strategy to be drawn up as matter of urgency to safeguard jobs and a defence industry at which Britain excels.
"This is vital, otherwise more high-skilled jobs will be lost - perhaps forever.
"There is a very long timescale for consultation and implementation, so we hope that compulsory redundancies will be avoided.
"However the underlying reason for the job losses is the government's defence spending cuts announced a couple of years ago.
"The scrapping of the Harrier jumpjet fleet, for instance, has led to redundancies at the Ansty factory, which will close.
"Meanwhile, work from Germany will be transferred to Rolls-Royce's site at Bristol.
"Unite will be seeking an early meeting with management to discuss the implications for our members and we will taking every step to safeguard their employment now and in the future."
He said bosses at Rolls-Royce had acted "fairly" by giving as much notice as possible to the staff of the company's plans to shut down the plant.
The 200-acre Rolls-Royce site at Ansty employs about 800 people and handles the refit and repair of both aeroplane and marine engines.
Components for the company's Trent series of civil aviation engines are also manufactured on the site.
A Rolls-Royce spokesman said that it was in consultation with recognised unions and hoped to achieve the cuts without compulsory redundancies.
Ansty's civil aerospace business would not be affected, he said.
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