Posted: Wed 5th Aug 2020

Updated: Wed 5th Aug

UK government says it wants to work with Airbus to support workers at risk of losing their job

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

UK government has said it wants to work with Airbus to support those at risk of losing their jobs.

Airbus is in talks with Unions over reducing its workforce at the Broughton wing making plant by more than 1,400 jobs.

That move follows the announcement by the aerospace giant in June it is to shed 15,000 jobs globally as it deals with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

Nearly 500 production and production-support workers contracted to Airbus in Broughton were made redundant last week.

The highly skilled workers, many of whom have been at the wing making plant for years, were employed by specialist services provider Guidant Global.

Business secretary Alok Sharma was visiting UPM in Deeside on Tuesday to discuss internal market proposals .

He told BBC Wales “We want to work with Airbus and trade unions to support this people are at risk of losing their jobs.

“We of course are in a dialogue with Airbus and others, but I think the key thing here is to continue to provide support that we have through the Covid corporate finance facility, and indeed the grants that we have made available to the sector.”

“We have made a whole range of support available to businesses in terms of loans and in terms of grants, but we have also said very clearly, where individual business are not able to make access to those particular facilities, they are able to come and talk to us on an individual basis.”

Secretary of State for Wales, Simon Hart who was also at UPM in Deeside said the “good news about our conversations with Airbus, it’s about actually making sure they are here in one year, they are here in five years and that they are here in 10 years.”

“It’s all about having Airbus’ fantastic contribution to Deeside here for as far into the future as we can see,” he said.

Regional Secretary for Unite Union Peter Hughes said: “I think they could do a lot more for the aviation industry. It’s all about making sure that we’ve been here for the long term, we do not need to lose these skills.”

“We want to be here to make sure that our children have a future, what we’re currently hearing from the UK Government is they’re not really that interested in manufacturing and aviation is key to Wales.”

A high level summit of leaders in manufacturing focusing on north Wales and the cross border area was convened by Economy and north Wales Minister Ken Skates on Tuesday

The ‘Future of Manufacturing Summit’ brought together government, industry, trade union and academic leaders to discuss not only current challenges facing the sector such as coronavirus (COVID-19), but new opportunities for green growth.

The event is part of a series of actions taken by Welsh Government to support the manufacturing sector, particularly aerospace and automotive, in the region and further afield.

Other measures have include a new Regional Employment Response Group, which has already met twice and which aims to support the Airbus workforce and wider supply chain.

Minister for Economy and North Wales Ken Skates said:

“The summit we have held today is part of a series of measures we are taking to mitigate the impact coronavirus is having on our vital high-value manufacturing sector.

The aim is to discuss the situation with all our partners to outline a way forward through the pandemic and into recovery. There will be further measures to come over the next few months, including publication of a manufacturing manifesto.

The impact on some of our major companies, such as Airbus, is very much a cross-border issue. We are working hard with our partners in the Mersey Dee area to show our support for the industry, workforce and supply chain.

It’s important everybody takes action to support this sector – including the UK Government. Sectors like aerospace and manufacturing support tens of thousands of jobs across Wales – both directly and in our supply chains – and it’s important we all take coordinated steps to ensure it has a bright future.”

Cllr Mark Pritchard, Chair of the Mersey Dee Alliance and Leader of Wrexham County Borough Council said:

“The challenges the manufacturing sector faces are significant and its impact is being felt in North East Wales and in the cross-border area.
It’s vital we all work together and with both the UK and Welsh Governments to find a way forward towards recovery.“

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