Posted: Wed 1st Jul 2020

Airbus: Boris Johnson ‘must step up to the plate’ and support UK aerospace workers says union

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Jul 1st, 2020

Airbus announced on Tuesday that it is looking to cut 15,000 of its global workforce, the largest downsizing in the company’s history.

1,727 Jobs will go across Airbus UK operations including at its largest factory at Broughton and Filton in Bristol.

1,116 UK manufacturing jobs will be lost alongside 611 office-based jobs as Airbus seeks to shrink its workforce by 15 percent.

Airbus has said its commercial aircraft business activity has dropped “by close to 40 per cent in recent months as the industry faces an unprecedented crisis” and aircraft production rates have been adapted accordingly.

“Airbus is facing the gravest crisis this industry has ever experienced,” chief executive, Guillaume Faury, said in a statement Tuesday. “We must ensure that we can sustain our enterprise and emerge from the crisis as a healthy, global aerospace leader, adjusting to the overwhelming challenges of our customers.”

A union has described Airbus’s decision ‘another act of industrial vandalism’ against the country’s under-attack aerospace sector.

Calling on the UK government to “stop watching from the sidelines while a national asset is destroyed” Unite Union said that No 10 must “step up to the plate”, just as leaders in France and Germany have, to protect the sector.

While jobs are also going in France, Spain and Germany, “extended government job retention programmes in those countries of up to 24 months means that no jobs will be lost in those countries in the immediate term.” Unite has said.

Earlier this month Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury suggested the workforce in Britain is more vulnerable to cutbacks than French and German counterparts because the UK furloughing scheme is set to be downgraded shortly.

He said he “regretted” the UK decision to end the scheme, under which the state pays 80 per cent of laid-off workers’ pay up to £2,500 a month, in October.

Around half the workforce at Broughton have been furloughed over a phased period. 

Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said:

This is yet another act of industrial vandalism and a terrible insult to our incredible UK workforce who deserve so much better from our government.

Over the weeks of this crisis, this country’s aerospace jobs have gone hand over fist yet not one word of support or act of assistance has been forthcoming from the government.

The UK government is watching from the sidelines while a national asset is destroyed.

The only words uttered by the government in relation to UK aerospace during this entire crisis came out of the blue today in relation to the prime minister’s UK-made ‘Jet Zero’ project. But while our world-class industry is shedding skills and workers at the present rate, this project will be nothing more than a PR fantasy.

The prime minister and his team must step up to the plate. UK aerospace workers deserve the same support and investment that Mr Macron and Ms Merkel provide to their workers. Airbus workers in France and Germany have up to two years to work to fend off their redundancies and turn their businesses around while in the UK the axe falls with immediate effect.

Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart called on the Welsh government to ‘link arms’ with the UK government, he told BBC Radio Wales

We’ve been talking to Airbus regularly, all the relevant UK government departments have done. I did yesterday .

We’ve been paying one in three workers for the last three or four months through the furlough scheme.

We’ve put probably four and a half billion quids worth of cash into the system, for Welsh Government to help Welsh Government get through the process.

This is about people’s jobs, and livelihoods we put 10 billion quid into this [aerospace] industry in the last year, because we believe in trying to preserve as many jobs as we possibly can and many businesses in Wales as we possibly can.

So I think if there’s ever a moment for Welsh government to say, ok lets link arms with UK Government for a common cause now is that moment.

Leader of Flintshire County Council Ian Roberts said he would like to hear assurances there will be a  “two government approach” to the Airbus jobs crisis locally. He said:

I think too often governments blame each other and so on. I note that France has given 15 billion euros to its aircraft industry, and they regard this as being particularly important.

We need a regional approach that involves both governments, this is a few miles from the English border a Chester that many workers will live in England, on the Wirral and as far as Liverpool.

So we want a regional approach to this by involves Flintshire and other local authorities, but most importantly both governments.

 

 

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