Socialist Worker

Workers protest in London to save Brough BAE factory

by Dave Sewell
Issue No. 2302

BAE workers from Brough protest outside the firm’s shareholders meeting (Pic: Smallman )

BAE workers from Brough protest outside the firm’s shareholders meeting (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Around 500 workers travelled from Brough, near Hull to protest outside the shareholders’ meeting of BAE Systems in London on Wednesday of last week.

Executives had to walk past a sea of workers booing and chanting “sack the board”.

Arms firm BAE plans to close the Brough plant, making the workers redundant.

It is still an immensely profitable firm despite cuts to military spending.

And while BAE prepares to sack workers, it gave chief executive Ian King a rise. His pay and bonus package last year was worth £2.4 million.

Unite union rep Phil Chorpe told Socialist Worker, “They have decided they don’t want a factory in Brough any more—and they are using the current economic climate as an excuse.”

The Brough plant currently manufactures Hawk fighter jets.

But workers are right to fight for their jobs. They should demand the plant is nationalised and re-tooled to build more socially useful products and infrastructure.

Machinist Matt Thorpe, who grew up around Brough, said, “The whole economy in the area will suffer if our jobs go—it won’t just be the 900 at BAE.

“I think it’s disgusting to just shut down manufacturing there after so many years.”

Workers were joined on the protest by two local MPs, Labour’s Alan Johnson and a very uncomfortable looking Tory David Davis. They say they will work to minimise the number of jobs lost.

But to stop it will require much more militant tactics.

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Article information

Tue 8 May 2012, 16:29 BST
Issue No. 2302
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