BAE Systems ran into fierce opposition yesterday as 550 angry staff from Brough in East Yorkshire travelled to London to stage a protest against the closure of the town's Hawk jet manufacturing plant.
At an annual meeting that bristled with sharp exchanges as BAE chairman Dick Olver insisted he was "talking to a lot of people about how the site can be re-used".
As he was repeatedly jeered, an increasingly irritable Olver said government spending cuts in key markets such as the UK and US made it essential for BAE to reduce costs.
"I very much recognise the pain and distress that this decision has caused," Olver said. He added that a failure to take decisive action threatened the "viability of all our businesses".
"We don't think you're doing all that you can – you're bailing out too easily. I believe as a company you can do more," said one Brough employee, to ringing applause.
Another criticised the £2.4 million pay and bonus package that the chief executive, Ian King, took in 2011, even as profits declined 7 per cent.