Covid-19 forces 9,000 job cuts at Rolls-Royce

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Rolls-Royce is to shed 9,000 positions in response to the Covid-19 pandemic that has all but grounded the civil aviation industry.

The company said that the commercial aerospace market will take several years to return to pre-Covid-19 levels and is instigating a cut in expenditure – including plant and property – that will save over £1.3 billion (US$1.6 billion) on an annualised basis. Roll-Royce has a workforce of 52,000 and the reduction in headcount will account for around £700 million (US$856 million) in savings.

In a statement, Warren East, Rolls-Royce, CEO said, “This is not a crisis of our making. But it is the crisis that we face and we must deal with it. Our airline customers and airframe partners are having to adapt and so must we.

“Governments across the world are doing what they can to assist businesses in the short-term, but we must respond to market conditions for the medium-term until the world of aviation is flying again at scale, and governments cannot replace sustainable customer demand that is simply not there.”

Rolls-Royce said its Power Systems business and ITP Aero are “currently developing, negotiating and executing extensive measures to deal with the current situation”. The company’s defence business in the UK and US is unaffected and as part of the reorganisation Rolls-Royce said it will ensure that its internal civil aerospace supply chain continues to support defence programmes.

“The strategic choices that we have made over the last few years have helped us to respond rapidly to Covid-19 and the synergies between our divisions leave us well placed to capitalise on the long-term potential of our markets,” East said. “The world on the other side of this pandemic will need the power that we generate to fuel economic recovery. We have emerged from troubled times before, to achieve incredible things. We will do so again.”

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Ben has worked all of his career as a journalist and now editor, covering almost all aspects of technology, engineering and industry. In the last 20 years he has written on subjects from nuclear submarines and autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies and commercial aviation. Latterly editor of a leading engineering magazine, he brings an eye for a great story and lots of experience to the team.

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