Thursday, May 28, 2020

Derby pledges to stand with Rolls-Royce and its workers

Council Leaders in Derby have described yesterday’s announcement of job losses at Rolls-Royce as heart-breaking for the workers, the company and the city.

They have pledged that Derby will do all it can to stand with those affected at this difficult time.

Derby City Council is already in talks with Rolls-Royce management, unions, local MPs and the Government about ways of helping those who will lose their livelihoods, and on steps to safeguard remaining jobs at the firm and amongst its suppliers.

The authority is partnering with the Department for Work and Pensions to provide support, including on-site careers advice and training, a web portal that matches people to new careers and jobs fairs.

There will also be assistance for displaced workers who wish to launch their own businesses.

The company says it needs to shed 9,000 jobs worldwide because of the impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic on the aerospace sector. It has not yet specified where the redundancies will take place but Derby, as headquarters of the firm’s civil aerospace division, is expected to be hard hit.

Leader of Derby City Council, Councillor Chris Poulter described the announcement as a tragedy. He said: “Rolls-Royce is one of the UK’s great companies. It has provided jobs and generated export wealth for the UK for decades. Its people are the best in the world at what they do.

“This crisis was not of their making and could not have been predicted. It is vital that, locally and nationally, every possible step is taken to support them and to protect a company that remains such a strategically important UK asset.”

Councillor Poulter said the city as a whole would feel the pain of the announcement, but he said Derby was determined to battle back from the impact of the Coronavirus crisis on its economy.

The Derby Economic Recovery Task Force has recently been launched, drawing expertise from both the public and private sectors, to understand the businesses, sectors and investments most likely to be hardest hit by the pandemic and identify ways of mitigating those effects.

It is aiding the work of other agencies on short-term interventions, such as identifying opportunities for local contract sourcing. As well as renewing Derby’s City Centre Masterplan, taking into account new commercial realities and changed priorities, to ensure the city is well-placed to benefit from the economic bounce-back. The task force will also identify opportunities for financial assistance and press Derby’s investment case.

The task force is concentrating on three phases of economic recovery:

  1. Restart – helping the city get back to work;
  2. Revival – helping to boost confidence and demand;
  3. Renewal – making strategic changes that will help produce a more resilient local economy and a more environmentally sustainable city.

Workstreams have been set up to consider business adaptation support, transport adaptation, sector-specific support networks, city centre transformation and demand stimulus.

Councillor Poulter, added: “While this is a devastating blow, we are determined to help the workers who have lost their jobs and, more generally, to ensure that our city builds back after this crisis – and builds back better.

“For many years, our city has been one of the UK’s industrial and export power houses, with some of the largest numbers of advanced manufacturing jobs in the country. Our underlying strengths remain and we are confident that, in time and with appropriate assistance, Derby can once again be a major driver of the country’s economy.

“We have a proud history of innovation stretching back over 300 years – we invented the factory; we are the spiritual home of the railway; we are a world-leader in aviation and we are determined to play a major role in re-shaping cities in a post-crisis world.”

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