At least 3,000 workers could lose their jobs at weapons manufacturer BAE Systems after a leak to a Sunday newspaper today suggested that the company wanted to slow production of hi-tech aircraft.
Jobs could be lost at the company's military aircraft division in Warton, Lancashire, and Brough, East Yorkshire, according to the Sunday Telegraph.
It employs 14,000 staff in military air and information, where the Typhoon jet is one of its core construction projects.
Unite national officer for aerospace Ian Waddell said: "These job losses will be a hammer blow to the UK defence industry, which is already reeling with the consequences of the government's 'buy off the shelf' policy.
"We will be seeking urgent talks with BAE Systems to try and clarify where these jobs are under threat and to work with them to avoid compulsory redundancies wherever possible."
Mr Waddell told the Star that the union was in constant talks about new directions for the company, moving away from "cold war strategies" to focus on cyberspace and modern warfare.
"BAE Systems clearly want to be a defence company. And any talk of new systems will not help those 3,000 workers under threat right now," he said.
GMB national officer Keith Hazlewood said: "This is a devastating blow for these communities, for the aerospace sector and for UK manufacturing.
"Workers and their families are still paying the price for the bankers' recession which started in 2007 and the recovery from it has stalled as these cuts show. Unions will be seeking urgent meetings with the company on this."
BAE has suffered from government contract cancellations and a lowering of demand for the Typhoon, although it is believed BAE is seeking new deals with India, Japan, Oman and Malaysia.
A BAE spokeswoman said: "BAE Systems has informed staff that we are reviewing our operations across various businesses to make sure the company is performing as effectively and efficiently as possible, both in delivering our commitments to existing customers and ensuring the company is best placed to secure future business.
"As the outcome of this review becomes clear, we will, as always, communicate to our employees as a priority."
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