MORE than 50 jobs are to be axed at Rolls-Royce in Bristol, a union has claimed.

According to Unite, at least 54 employees will lose their jobs at the company's factory in Patchway as part of plans to cut 320 support worker posts in Derby and Bristol to concentrate on production staff.

The union blasted the unjustified and "unnecessary" decision at a time when the engineering giant is making huge profits and has a record order book.

Unite national officer for aerospace and shipbuilding, Ian Waddell said: "Rolls-Royce is a massive success story in UK manufacturing, making record profits and with a booming order book. The company needs the support of its employees to continue this success story and fulfil its commitments to its customers.

"I urge Rolls-Royce to abandon this plan and talk to the union about measures to further improve competitiveness without cutting loyal staff. The company does not need to disrupt the workforce in this way when it is demonstrating global success and creating huge profits."

He asked that any restricting or cost reduction be done without compulsory redundancy.

"Another round of redundancies in these circumstances, on top of the 400 job losses proposed in its defence business, is a criminal waste of talent that will create insecurity and damage morale in the workforce," he added.

The union said it had a good record of avoiding compulsory redundancy by working constructively with the company and that it wanted to see Rolls-Royce succeed and grow.

Unite said that the job losses would target "indirect" workers, as the company sought to switch resources into production activities.

But Rolls-Royce did not to confirm the number of jobs to be axed in the Bristol area. In a statement it however said it would need fewer support and admin staff in the future.

"To remain competitive and meet our customer’s requirements, we need more people in front line engineering and production jobs and fewer in support functions," the engineering giant said.

"This means some of our facilities will expand and others will get smaller. Wherever possible we will redeploy people and we will seek to avoid compulsory redundancies".