Not too late for UK government to save Airbus jobs says Labour Leader Keir Starmer ahead of visit to Broughton
On his first visit to Wales since becoming Leader of the Labour Party, Keir Starmer will head to Deeside today.
He will be joined by First Minister Mark Drakeford, they are expected to issue a joint challenge to the UK Government and Welsh Tory MPs to back Labour’s campaign to save jobs in Wales.
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.
Official figures show, 378,400 people in Wales have been furloughed, making up 29% of the eligible workforce and including around 3,200 Airbus workers.
Mr Starmer will visit Broughton’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) on Thursday alongside Mark Drakeford and Labour’s Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds as part of Labour’s Jobs, Jobs, Jobs campaign.
The joint challenge from the leaders of UK Labour and Welsh Labour calls on Welsh Conservative MPs and MSs to help protect Welsh jobs by opposing the UK Chancellor’s blanket withdrawal of the furlough scheme from all sectors.
Aerospace is worth £1.47bn to the Welsh economy and supports 11,700 jobs, but both aerospace and closely linked aviation sector have been badly hit by coronavirus.
UK government business secretary Alok Sharma was visiting UPM in Deeside on Tuesday he said, “we want to work with Airbus and trade unions to support these 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 the 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.”
Labour has pressed the UK government for targeted support for aviation and aerospace after the aviation rescue package promised by the Chancellor in March failed to materialise.
Keir Starmer, said: “Labour is fighting for jobs across the country. The UK Government’s blanket withdrawal of the furlough scheme is a historic mistake which threatens Welsh jobs.
“The devastating job losses announced at Airbus show how high the stakes are. We face a jobs crisis on a scale not seen for generations. But it is not too late for the government to act.
“The Welsh Government has done a huge amount to support struggling businesses, but the action needed on the furlough scheme can only come from Westminster. Welsh Conservative MPs must also play their part in getting their Chancellor to change course. This is a major test of the Conservative Party’s commitment to North Wales.”
Mark Drakeford, Welsh Labour leader and First Minister of Wales, said: “The Welsh Labour Government has provided the most generous and comprehensive package of support to business anywhere in the UK. We will go on doing all we can to protect Welsh jobs.
“Coronavirus is still with us and it will continue to impact on our economy in Wales for a long time to come.
“The vast majority of people in Wales have followed the rules and made significant sacrifices to help us get coronavirus under control. I believe they would expect the UK government to support the economy and make sure people have jobs to go back into.”
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