Campaigners called for British industry to shift away from defence production today following reports that 3,000 jobs could go at arms manufacturer BAE Systems.
The firm has confirmed that it will slow down production of its Typhoon Eurofighter jet, raising fears that thousands of workers will lose their jobs - on top of 450 forced redundancies announced earlier this year.
Stop the War Coalition co-ordinator Lindsey German said that it was vital to shift British industry away from weapons and towards socially useful production.
"Basically the problem is they're tied to a defence industry that does untold damage around the world," she said.
"We have a huge housing crisis in this country that's barely talked about. Isn't that something we should be putting these resources towards?"
The Unite union, which represents some of the workers at BAE, urged the government to end its wars in Afghanistan and Libya - major sources of BAE contracts - at the TUC Congress in London earlier this month.
Campaigns officer Andrew Murray told delegates that the union's members wanted an immediate withdrawal from both countries.
The government's rhetoric on behalf of Libyan civilians demonstrated "the absurdity of bombing them in order to protect them," he said, while the case against Afghanistan was "even clearer.
"It is fraught with disaster and should be brought to an end now."
If BAE does bring the axe down on workers' jobs, most are likely to go at its aerospace division in Warton, Lancashire, which builds the Typhoon, and Brough in East Yorkshire.
GMB national officer Keith Hazlewood said the number of potential job losses is a "devastating blow for these communities, for the aerospace sector and for UK manufacturing."
And Unite national officer for aerospace Ian Waddell called the news a "hammer blow to the UK defence industry, which is already reeling with the consequences of the government's 'buy off the shelf' policy."
Both unions said they were seeking urgent talks with management to prevent compulsory redundancies where possible.
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