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Redundancy blow at Meggit

The Meggitt site at Ashby Road, near Loughborough. Photo Steve F/geograph.org.uk (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Workers at the Coventry factory of specialist engineering firm Parker Meggitt found out in mid-October that around 200 jobs will go by the end of the year. This comes only weeks after the takeover of Meggitt plc by US group Parker-Hannifin.

Meggitt is a leading manufacturer of components for the aerospace and defence industries. The £6 billion takeover last year by its US competitor fuelled concerns from trade unions and others about job and skills losses. Parker agreed to maintain the Coventry headquarters and to retain research and development, product engineering and direct manufacturing in Britain.

The government carried out consultations on national security and competition in the light of undertakings from Parker. Just seven days after the consultation ended on 13 July, Kwasi Kwarteng, the Business Secretary at the time, waved through completion of the deal.

These job losses come despite the company opening a new site in June at Ansty, near Coventry, employing around 1,000 people. Parker Meggitt UK said on 13 October that, “After the combination of the two businesses in September, some of the work previously undertaken by Meggitt’s corporate central functions, predominantly in the UK and USA, may no longer be required.”

Parker’s voluntary undertakings never excluded the jobs now under threat in corporate and support departments. But cuts in such areas often lead to others, especially after mergers. Workers fear this is just the start of redundancies in the British-based operations.

Unite and other unions have fought foreign takeovers in the defence industry on the slogan “Spend UK defence £ in UK”. The government did not defend Meggitt workers. They will have to do that for themselves.