Unite to keep watching brief on fall out as United Technologies identifies $500 million worth of ‘cost synergies’
Regional Officer Susan Fitzgerald, with responsibility for the union’s aerospace membership, issued a cautious response to the confirmation that United Technologies (UTC) would be buying Rockwell Collins (formerly B/E Aerospace limited), based in Kilkeel.
“Rockwell Collins is a blue-chip employer in the South Down area – providing direct employment to approximately 800 workers – and sustaining many more in the wider economy. It is vital to safeguard these jobs and defend the pay, terms and conditions of its workers against any pressures arising from today’s announcement.
“The Aerospace industry operates within a highly competitive global market which has become even more challenging as a result of the downturn from the great recession that started in 2008. Orders have begun to pick up in the last couple of years right across the aerospace sector and Rockwell Collins has been able to make a substantial profit from the combination of a skilled, dedicated workforce and lower cost base in Kilkeel.
“Unite has been closely monitoring the likelihood and consequences of Rockwell Collins being taken over by United Technologies. This is a very big corporate takeover and will involve very significant restructuring in both companies. We note that United Technologies has identified the potential for $500 million worth of what they call ‘cost synergies’ – to corporate management that means rationalisations that will increase profit – to workers that will raise fears of site closures, redundancies and the potential of offshoring.
“Unite has been actively engaging union colleagues at other Rockwell Collins sites across the world to secure jobs and pay and any likely impact arising from a UTC takeover. We will seek to continue and broaden this engagement. There is no immediate threat to jobs at Kilkeel from today’s announcement, and we should be well-positioned to weather out any storm but we will be keeping a watching brief on developments as they play out”, Ms Fitzgerald concluded.