MORE than 100 jobs will be lost as defence manufacturer BAE Systems prepares to move work from Tyneside to Shopshire.
The company says it has no choice but to cut the 400-strong workforce as it refocuses its operations.
It is thought the jobs will be gone by 2012, with an uncertain future left for the Scotswood Road factory, which has yet to secure any further contracts past 2013.
Staff were told last year that the firm has missed out on the £1bn deal to make British Army Fres Scout armoured vehicles. They are currently working on the Terrier combat engineering vehicle.
Yesterday workers at the old Vickers factory were told that a Wolverhampton site would be closed down, kick-starting a process of merging jobs at the nearby Telford site in Shropshire.
BAE would not confirm speculation that the Newcastle site is set to close down fully by 2013, saying its latest announcement did not mean there was no a future for the factory.
In a statement it said the vehicles side of the business will now focus on completing current manufacturing programmes and providing support services to the British Army and other international customers.
Jan Söderström, MD for BAE Systems’ Vehicles business said: “We have consistently said that we must reduce costs to remain competitive and secure a future for the business.
“We are creating a more efficient business to ensure we are the right size and have the right mix of skills to meet current and future customer needs.
“We regret the impact that this will have on our employees. We will work with employees and trade unions to explore ways of mitigating these proposed job losses, and do everything we can to support our people throughout this process.
“We will continue to meet all planned deliveries to our customers throughout this transition.”