02/05/2012 10:08 BST | Updated 02/05/2012 10:28 BST

BAE Systems Accused Of 'Bailing Out' Over UK Job Cuts

Leaders at defence company BAE Systems were accused of not doing enough to save UK jobs at a factory threatened by redundancies on Wednesday.

Hundreds of staff from the factory at Brough, East Yorkshire, staged a protest outside the company's annual meeting in central London and lobbied shareholders for support.

The company announced thousands of job cuts last year, including the end of manufacturing at Brough, home of the Hawk aircraft, with the loss of hundreds of posts.

Unite national officer Ian Waddell said the company had made a "fundamental mistake" in deciding to end manufacturing at Brough.

One of the workers, Steve Olsen, told the board in a question and answer session that BAE was not doing enough to save jobs at Brough.

"You are bailing out very easily. The company can do more for people who work at Brough."

BAE Systems chairman Dick Olver said job cuts had been "unavoidable and imperative" because of the challenges facing the company.

He acknowledged the effect of the job cuts in Brough but said the company had to respond to the changing demands of its customers.

"Governments are quite rightly taking hard decisions on how to spend taxpayers' money."

MPs Alan Johnson (Labour) and David Davis (Conservative), whose constituencies are close to the Brough factory, addressed hundreds of workers at a rally close to the AGM in Westminster, speaking out in support of the campaign to save jobs.

Another Brough worker, Paul Bell, asked how the board could be given a pay rise when so many workers were being sacked.

He told the chairman that Brough had been a manufacturing site for more than 100 years, with generations of families working there.

"I call for an investigation into this - it is totally disrespectful. And how can you justify your own remuneration packages?

"You have not performed and are giving yourselves a pay rise. We have performed well but we are being sacked," Bell said.

Brough worker David Bird was close to tears when he told the chairman he faced redundancy after 21 years at the company.

Olver said the firm was working to mitigate the effect of the decision to end manufacturing at Brough, adding that hopefully the final number of job losses would be fewer than the 900 announced.