ALMOST 600 Rolls-Royce jobs in Renfrewshire have been safeguarded after an agreement was reached between the engineering giant and trade union officials.

The future of the Inchinnan plant was in doubt as the company struggled to cope with a downturn in business caused by the Covid pandemic.

However, the Unite trade union has now told the 575-strong workforce their jobs will be safe from compulsory redundancies for at least five years.

The signing of a memorandum of understandings (MoU) for the Rolls-Royce sites at Inchinnan and Ansty, near Coventry, comes just weeks after Unite struck a ground-breaking deal with management to secure the future of the company’s Barnoldswick operations, in Lancashire, saving an additional 350 jobs there.

As well as safeguarding jobs, the MoUs for Inchinnan and Ansty state that Unite and Rolls-Royce will work together to bring new work to the sites, including that related to addressing climate change and developing green technologies.

Around 1,600 people were employed at the Inchinnan site, which produces turbine blades and aerofoils, before the pandemic struck but more than half of those jobs have been lost over the past year.

More than 85 people are employed at the Ansty plant, where engine fan cases are made.

Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: “The agreements safeguarding more than 650 jobs in Inchinnan and Ansty are testament to the hard work of our members at both sites who, alongside our fantastic team of shop stewards and officers, were determined to secure a bright future for their workplaces and communities.

“Coming hot on the heels of the Barnoldswick deal, these agreements show exactly what can be achieved when employers and unions work together in a genuine and positive way.

“But, as we face the triple challenge of recovering from the pandemic, adjusting to the UK’s new position outside of the EU and tackling climate change, it is clear that government now needs to play its part.

"That means supporting, investing in and procuring from UK manufacturers enabling the transition to a greener economy.

“Companies like Rolls-Royce have the potential to drive a jobs recovery as they produce the green tech needed to meet our zero carbon targets, while cementing the UK’s position as the envy of the manufacturing world.

“Our manufacturing sector is key to meeting the immense challenges ahead. We now need government to be working much closer with both unions and industry to ensure that those challenges are met.”

A spokesperson for Rolls-Royce said: “We are pleased to confirm that after many weeks of complex and constructive talks about the future of our facilities in Ansty and Inchinnan we have agreed a way forward with Unite, which is based on us working closely with them to improve the competitiveness of both sites.

“The agreements show our commitment to the mid-term viability of these facilities where we will continue to explore the opportunities for future development and manufacturing work related to climate change programmes in line with company strategy.”