UNION leaders at BAE Systems in Cowes have expressed their ‘deep concern’ after this week’s announcement by the defence giant that 18 jobs would be axed at the site.
Unite’s engineering branch raised concerns the proposed job cuts — 7.5 per cent of the Cowes workforce — would further undermine the site’s future and called on the business to fully justify any job losses against its workload.
Phil Rudd, secretary of Unite the Union Isle of Wight Engineering Branch, said: “Unite the union is alarmed by the increasing amount of defence work being outsourced abroad. 
“By 2020, 25 pence of every pound spent on UK defence spending will find its way to American factories alone rather than being spent here in the UK.”
Mr Rudd described the Island’s economy as ‘fragile’ and called on the government to act to commit to place an order for a future ground based ballistic missile defence radar with the BAE site in Cowes.
He added the union had also written to Island MP, Bob Seely, asking for his support.
The Island’s TUC also called on the government to support jobs on the Island following on from last week’s announcement of 70 job losses at composites firm, Gurit. 
Earlier this week, Mr Seely told the County Press he had received assurances the government would support Island workers who face redundancy from the 242 employee facility.
He said: “This is very unfortunate news for Island BAE staff as Christmas approaches. My hope is the majority, if not all, of these losses can be accommodated through voluntary redundancy." 
On Tuesday, BAE announced around one in ten jobs at its sites in Cowes and Portsmouth — where a number of Islanders are also based — could be under threat after the defence company announced it was looking for 375 voluntary redundancies in its Maritime Services division.
Nationally, BAE Systems is planning to cut almost 2,000 jobs in military, maritime and intelligence services.