MORE than 20,000 people have added their names to the online petition over shock plans to shed 700 jobs at a Scottish engineering factory.

Rolls-Royce is set to make around half of the workforce at its Inchinnan plan in Renfrewshire rendundant. The maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) section is expected to close entirely.

The company says the cuts are in response to the impact the pandemic has had on the aerospace industry and hopes voluntary redundancies can be agreed.

Nicola Sturgeon used her coronavirus briefing today to deliver a message to that workforce, telling them: "The Scottish Government will do everything we can to ensure as good an outcome as we can."

But the petition, posted on the platform, states that the "highly skilled men and women" affected" will "unfortunately be unable to find any employment like it", adding: "The cuts will also affect other Scottish businesses who supply products for the company."

Posted by "AM", it goes on: "These job losses will create an extreme impact locally and within Scotland and I feel it is important to protect the history and support [the] Scottish economy now and in the future. 

"This may not affect you directly, however if you ask around family and friends you will find one or two, present or past employee of Rolls-Royce within Scotland.

"For this reason, I ask you [to] support MRO team Inchinnan."

The number of sign-ups has broken 20,000 and is rising fast.

One signatory called on the multi-billion company to subsidise the operation until business picks up. Another said: "We cannot afford to lose these jobs."

A Rolls-Royce spokesperson has said “This number of proposed job losses is a terrible prospect for the people and communities that are impacted, and we understand how devastating the news must be for everyone at the Inchinnan facility.”