TOWARDS the end of September, BAE Systems said it would slash around 3,000 jobs at sites across Britain. BAE Systems is the UKs largest defence and security firm, employing 40,000 people here.
Its military aircraft division is going to be hit the hardest. BAE say a slowdown in orders for the Eurofighter Typhoon fighter aircraft is to blame for the situation and that the redundancies are necessary for the company to stay competitive. A 90-day consultation into the plans to shed jobs is due to finish at Christmas.
Thus the biggest job cuts will be at Samlesbury, in Lancashire, where 565 jobs will go from the 3,970-strong workforce and at Warton, also in Lancashire, which sees 843 posts (out of 6,537) going. And in Brough, East Yorkshire, around 900 jobs will be lost from its 1,300-strong workforce.
There could also be job cuts at other BAE plants in Dorset, Hampshire, Surrey, and Essex.
The knock-on effects from this puts nearly 6,000 further jobs at risk at BAE’s suppliers and in the wider economy.
However, BAE workers are not taking this decision lying down.
Last month, around 400 workers marched in Hull to protest at the decision to axe jobs. The march started at the War Memorial and Cenotaph in Ferensway and went through the city centre. A rally was held at Queens Gardens.
BAE has a long association with Hull. Its Brough plant – near to Hull – has been in the area for nearly 100 years. However, the loyalty of the workforce counts for nothing, so 900 jobs will go. These redundancies will further decimate an area already hit hard by unemployment.
Commenting on BAEs decision to axe jobs, the Third Way Think Tank has called upon all workers to support all efforts to fight job losses.
In the first instance, members and supporters should join over 15,000 other people and sign the Fight For BAE Systems Jobs e-petition here: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/18283
(Note: the petition ‘closed’ last month. However, we would still urge people to sign it. We feel that Britain’s MPs should be made aware of the strength and depth of feeling regarding job losses. E-Petitions are a great way of applying pressure on our MPs.)
The petition doesnt close until 2012!
Talks, thankfully are sdhceuled today as we face week three of the support staff strike on Monday.All in all, it’s been quite an education. More than that, it’s been a true chance for many of us to step back and reflect on things that sometimes are too easily forgotten.Was the strike costly? Sure. Individually and collectively, and in many what’s work going to be like when we get back’ ways, to be sure.But there’s a cost to the spirit too a cost that for me was only revealed as important when I realized its absence in my life these last few weeks.This something’ is what really drew me, and so many of my like-spirited colleagues to the field of education in the first place. And it’s something that can not be contracted out, or put into a spreadsheet or even negotiated. In fact, it’s a gift. A gift of spirit. A gift that appears en masse in every school, university, and college every September. A gift that most givers of the gift are not even aware of giving us. But it’s this generous and real gift that fills, sustains, and compels us to give back. A gift that reminds us how important it is to show trust, support, kindness, patience in our work and the people we work for and with and us to show as much respect as we can manage under whatever circumstances and whomever we face.The older you get, the more precious the gift becomes. It has the incredible power to transform you from a naggingly cynical, and wrinkling curmudgeon to a wide-eyed and nervous youth again in an eye-blink. It reveals to you the truth that despite the mind-numbing speed of technical change in our lives and in our workplaces, that some things truly are universal and eternal to the human spirit.And that beyond a world corrupt with fear mongers and the fear-mongered, the terrorists and the terrorized, there is another vision. A vision that emerged long, long ago from visionaries who were probably just as wide-eyed and nervous as those faces staring back at you in the halls and classrooms of the first week of September. Somewhere in our collective past we decided to collectively acknowledge the nurturing of public knowledge not as a privilege, but a fundamental and critical human right as basic as shelter and food.In Ontario, 1967, the momentum of this vision and the celebration of our fresh-faced nations first centennial collided and created the community college system. An acknowledgement that investing in developing skills in future minds was not only necessary to sustain a healthy economy, but critical to sustaining a healthy society. This was a time when the whole country was filled with the very same gift that our students continue to shyly present to us, every day hope.Hope that change can be good. Good for oneself, good for all. Hope that the only meaningful growth is NOT economic or profit/tax-based driven but much, much, more personal. A growth of understanding, of connection to others past, present and future. A hope that even a sad story can have a happy ending. A story worth retelling not because it sells TV ads, or newspapers but because it gives to the listener, more hope in the telling.And maybe the most important hope of all, a hope of discovery. That somewhere in all of us students, teachers, support staff, parents, voters, taxpayers and (hopefully) management there remains, somewhere, a hope to live our lives as the best we can be for ourselves, and to give back to this world more hope than we receive. To not settle for complacency, to refuse to accept that we are limited to what others, or other interests, insist we must accept as our fate.January first may officially be the time to celebrate a new year, but there’s no doubt in my mind that the time to celebrate a new future is the first day of school and the return to youthful hope to the world.And THAT, is what I missed most this September.Thank you students. The HOPE that you bring to me, my colleagues, our schools, and indeed the world is a true, and generously given gift. A gift that if honestly respected, should not be ignored, squandered, or exploited for any purpose other than the spirit it is given in.There’s an old African proverb worth repeating: stay hungry, stay foolish.One can only hope.- College-trained support staffer married to a college-trained library worker (with a daughter in her 2nd year of a college program)