West Berkshire’s biggest employer is to cut around 500 jobs in an effort to “streamline” how it operates.
The Atomic Weapon’s Establishment based at Aldermaston and Burghfield made the announcement today (Thursday) that around 500 roles will be lost across the organisation.
In an announcement the facility which manufacturers the countries’ nuclear weapons said that roles in support functions and “activities of the business where this is appropriate” would be cut.
The organisation said: “The changes will maintain and enhance the core stockpile, production and capital investment projects with safety, security and quality remaining central to all our operations.
"While the company is committed to avoiding compulsory redundancies where possible, a reduction of roles in some areas and an increase in others is required to ensure long-term efficiencies while meeting overall programme requirements.
“The welfare of our staff is our main concern and we will be doing everything we can to support them throughout the process.”
The announcement follows an order made by the nuclear regulatory authority - the ONR, to keep the facility under special measures for a third consecutive year.
Trade union Prospect, the largest of the trade unions at AWE, raised concerns of the timing of the announcement, with part of the ONR’s scrutiny being a shortage of skilled staff.
Richard Tabbner from the trade union said: “Prospect are both shocked and disappointed that the company has decided to announce job losses at a time when the regulatory body remains concerned about the shortage of skilled personnel within the company.
“Prospect members within AWE are highly skilled and specialised in the work they undertake.
“We will now meet with the company and closely examine the business and safety cases for these redundancies, ensuring that AWE enters into meaningful consultation, justifying each and every proposed job loss."
Newbury MP Richard Benyon said he was "concerned" by the announcement and will work with "all agencies to make sure all help available to any laid off."