Deeside MP Mark Tami to ‘press’ Airbus on how it will guarantee workforce is protected from coronavirus
Alyn and Deeside MP Mark Tami has called on Airbus to give clear advice on how it will keep workers at the Broughton wing manufacturing site safe during the coronavirus pandemic.
The plane maker said on Monday it’s first priority is “protecting people while supporting efforts globally to curb the spread of the coronavirus.”
Airbus confirmed partial aircraft production had resumed at its French and Spanish factories following a four-day shutdown to implement “stringent health and safety conditions in terms of hygiene, cleaning and self-distancing.”
The company said it has also “learnt” from its operations in China where COVID-19 was first detected, safety measures implemented at its Tianjin site “proved to be efficient.” Airbus said.
Those measures have already been introduced without the need to close the Broughton site in Flintshire.
There are around 6000 people employed at Airbus in Broughton but, the number on site at anyone time is lower due to shift patterns.
Those employees who can work from home have been told to do so.
Strict new measures to tackle the spread of coronavirus were announced by the prime minister on Monday night.
People may now only leave home to exercise once a day, to travel to and from work where “absolutely necessary”, to shop for essential items, and to fulfill any medical or care needs.
The measures to curb the movement of people in UK have been greeted with confusion from many of those working at industrial sites which are still operating across Flintshire.
MP Mark Tami said he has contacted Airbus, they have told him, “the UK Government has confirmed to them that they can continue production, providing social distancing measures are in place.”
Mr Tami said, “I know that this advice will have been based on the guidance from the Chief Medical Officer, I do however believe that the health and safety of the workforce and their families must be the primary concern.”
He said he will, “continue to press for answers on how this will be guaranteed.”
“If production is to continue at Airbus in the short term then there needs to be much clearer guidance on how this can be done safely.”
“This is the responsibility of the UK Government to provide.” Added the Deeside MP.
Mr Tami said: “I am concerned that the Governments advice has been conflicted and confusing.
I firmly believe that if we are going to reduce the number of deaths due to this illness then the Government must be clearer about what steps need to be taken and by whom.
Whilst I support the measures announced last night by the Prime Minister and the emergency legislation passed by the House of Commons yesterday, it is clear that more needs to be done to keep people safe and the Government must do a better job of explaining what needs to be done.
People’s lives depend on it.
Until the Governments gives that clarity, everyone- employers included- must take sensible measures for the common good.”
A spokesperson for Airbus said: “We decided to pause production and assembly at our sites in France and Spain for four days, with the aim of immediately implementing the health and safety measures required to protect people working in our facilities.
The same measures were also implemented in the UK, Germany, the US and Canada without full interruption of production.”
Airbus said it has evaluated and adapted “all our ways of working to adhere to strict social-distancing and risk-mitigation measures and ensuring everyone who can work from home is doing so.”
The plane maker said it has also “leveraged the lessons learned from our operations in China as our colleagues in Tianjin have been implementing measures that proved to be efficient.”
“In order to weather the crisis, it is clear: we need to protect our people against the outbreak, and we also have to restore and maintain our operations at a certain level. We have two crises to face, not one: the health crisis, and the economic crisis. We need to find solutions, we need to move forward on both of them, simultaneously and now.
We are continuously monitoring the situation and are allowing those that can work from home to work from home.
As a major industrial leading company, we fulfil an important role in society as a driver of employment, skills, expertise, tax revenues and as a provider of critical services to our customers. It is our duty to fulfil that role.” The Airbus spokesperson said.
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