UK defence firm QinetiQ in talks over job cuts

* Company in talks with union to scrap 325 jobs

* Cuts in addition to 391 job losses announced in July

LONDON, Aug 3 (Reuters) - British defence firm QinetiQ QQ.L is in talks with labour unions over plans to cut 325 jobs on top of the 391 positions it announced would be cut last month.

“QinetiQ confirms that it has commenced consultation with its trades unions regarding a proposed reduction of 325 employees in the UK,” the company said in a statement.

“This is in addition to the potential reduction of 391 employees announced on 6 July and follows a detailed review of its UK businesses.”

QinetiQ, formerly Britain’s state-owned defence research agency, announced plans in May to slash operating costs and restructure its business after chief executive Leo Quinn, who took the helm in November 2009, ordered a review of the company.

The company recently said it was in consultation with trade unions over 391 job losses at two sites in Hampshire and Worcestershire and that it could be hit with a 20 million pound ($31 million) charge if the redundancies are agreed.

Prospect, the union which represents defence and security employees, said it was alarmed by the announcement and that most of the redundancies would be at Qinetiq’s Boscombe Down operation near Salisbury in southern England.

“QinetiQ says that almost 1,000 employees will be put ‘at risk’ of redundancy during the statutory 90-day consultation period that starts today, on top of over 600 employees who are already ‘at risk’ from the July redundancy announcement,” said Prospect’s national secretary David Luxton.

QinetiQ has been hit by British political and economic issues in recent months, which have caused delays in orders across its services and products businesses.

Last month it said defence markets in the UK and U.S. remained challenging -- with cuts in defence budgets at home and abraod looming -- and that a review of defence spending in Britain made making forecasts difficult.

Shares in QinetiQ were 0.56 percent down at 125.7 pence by 1230 GMT.

(Reporting by Rhys Jones and Golnar Motevalli, Editing by Matt Scuffham)


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