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Aerospace jobs go in terror backlash

A DEESIDE aerospace firm axed 31 staff this week as a result of the US terror attacks.

A DEESIDE aerospace firm axed 31 staff this week as a result of the US terror attacks.

RD Precision blamed the post-terror industry downturn for Tuesday's decision to reduce its 128-strong workforce at Pentre, Deeside.

The move is a further blow to the region's aerospace industry following large-scale redundancies at Airbus' Flintshire wing-making factory, and Wrexham components firm Trefn Engineering.

RD Precision managing director Ron Daly said yesterday: "We supply all the major aircraft manufacturers in the UK and there has been a downturn in business since September 11."

The company has been based on Deeside for 12 years and over the last 18 months had been actively recruiting for what should have been a big increase in business.

But the crisis which hit world airlines and aircraft manufacturing businesses after the attacks has brought a dramatic reversal of fortune. RD make precision machined components and small assemblies.

Their customers include not only Airbus at Broughton, but BAE Systems military divisions and other BAE sites in the UK, and a German aircraft company.

The workers who have been made redundant include production and indirect engineering support staff.

Mr Daly said: "We were probably one of the last in the aero manufacturing supply chain to lay off workers. We wanted to wait and see how things developed in the New Year, but we cannot hang on indefinitely.

"We believe this may be an 18-month to two-year period of consolidation for the industry. All the signs are it will recover eventually.

"Certainly, if we were to get very busy again we would be happy to have all our workers back."

Aircraft components company Trefn Engineering, of Llay, near Wrexham, has already announced plans to axe 124 workers at its three factory units.

In November, Trim Engineering Group, owners of Trefn who do contract work for Airbus at Broughton, announced it needed to axe the jobs after an £8m reduction in customer orders. Unions and management were able to save 34 jobs after agreeing a pay freeze, overtime ban and changes to shift patterns. But shortly after that success came news that further cutbacks on the 146 jet project would mean losing a further 10-12 jobs at Trefn.

Airbus itself has kept redundancies down to around 300, which it hopes to find through natural wastage.

And it was confirmed last night that the North Wales site would not suffer further job losses.

BAE Systems announced that around a 1,000 posts will be axed at Woodford, near Manchester, and Filton, near Bristol, because of the ending of a regional jet building programme.

The Daily Post reported on Friday that the company's chief executive, Noel Foregeard, claimed there would be no further job cuts at Broughton.


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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