The Hull Daily Mail has launched a bid to save up to 900 BAe Systems jobs on its patch by depicting the ‘human face’ of the proposed mass redundancies.
Earlier this week the defence giant announced plans to axe 3,000 jobs at three locations across the North of England.
They include 900 jobs at BAe’s aviation manufacturing facility at Brough, East Yorkshire.
Now the Mail has launched a ‘Battle for Brough’ campaign in a bid to reverse the decision and preserve 95 years of plane-making at the site.
Today’s paper included a special front and back page wraparound and two inside spreads.
The paper had the idea of trying to picture as many of the threatened workers outside the plant as possible, to show the human face of the proposed job cuts.
It asked local union officials and individual workers to help co-ordinate the gathering by putting the word out around the plant by e-mail, text and word of mouth.
As a result 700 workers trooped out of the plant at 12.15pm yesterday to be photographed for the wraparound by picture editor Jim Mitchell.
Editor John Meehan, who is due to leave the paper shortly, said: “They say a picture can say more than a thousand words. Well this is a case in point. It shows hundreds of skilled workers who could be cast into unemployment.
“How can it be right to shed so many highly-skilled jobs and close down a centre of manufacturing excellence when the Government says it is a priority to support the economy and rebalance it in favour of manufacturing?
“The loss of so many jobs and manufacturing expertise and capability would be a disaster for East Yorkshire, but also a major blow to UK Plc.
“We’re determined to do all we can to support the efforts to reverse this damaging and short-sighted decision.”
John said the mail’s campaign will support the efforts of BAE Systems workers, trade unions and local politicians to persuade the company to reverse the decision to end Brough’s proud history as “the home of the Hawk”.
He said Brough was being unfairly sacrificed in favour of other UK plants and that there was a “powerful case” to be made to BAE Systems and the Government to retain the site as a manufacturing centre.
This is the second time the Mail has campaigned to save the Brough site and hundreds of jobs there.
In 2002 and 2003 the Mail mounted the ‘Sign It Now!’ campaign, successfully urging the Government to agree a £10bn contract to build a new fleet of Hawk jets for the RAF.