Tag Archives: Jobs

North East and Yorkshire’s aerospace industry at ‘five to midnight’ as government stays silent on support

The union is appealing to the people of the region to get behind its campaign to keep jobs and incomes in the community.

With a huge decline in new orders and maintenance work – a knock-on effect from the pandemic hit to the aviation sector – many jobs are at risk in the industry right across the region. More than 13,000 aerospace redundancies have already been announced in the UK.

Unite issued its jobs warning following the publication of a new report by economic experts Acuity Analysis, which details the challenges facing the NEYH and the entire UK aerospace sector. The analysis profiles the importance of the sector to the region’s economy and reveals:

  • The aerospace sector provides secure well paid jobs across the NEYH region, with 3,700 workers being employed in the sector.
  • There are 150 employers in the region split between 50 manufacturing companies and 100 companies specialising in the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) of aircraft.
  • Major aerospace employers in the region include BAE and Rolls Royce.
  • The sector is incredibly valuable for the region generating £224 million in gross value added per annum.

According to Unite, which has been battling for sector support since March, large-scale job losses would have a crippling effect on both the NEYH’s and the nation’s economies: 5,000 aerospace jobs lost would see more than £2 billion wiped off the UK’s economic output.

Unite has been pressing the UK government to follow the lead of competitor nations such as France and Germany to establish an investment programme for the sector to survive, rebuild and recover. A central call from the union is for the government to extend the jobs retention scheme to prevent the premature loss of more jobs and skills while the sector works to build back.

Unite regional officer Suzanne Reid said: “Aerospace is a major contributor to the NEYH economy but the lack of action at Westminster means we now stand at five to midnight and could be looking at a very bleak future.

“Jobs are going by the day and our world-leading status is slipping away as other nations sense the competitive advantage in our government’s inaction.

“Without the support this sector is crying out for we will lose thousands of the highly skilled, secure jobs that we are told the UK needs and that the government wishes to encourage.

“It is a travesty that the government has not followed the lead of other countries including France and Germany to provide specific support for what is a world class industry. Worse still, the UK government’s silence on support gives our competitors a business advantage.

“We are pleading with the government. Waste no more time. Be clear that the JRS will be extended to ensure the sector preserves skills and jobs. Commit to a package of support for the aerospace sector which would not only preserve jobs across the North East and Yorkshire but be the shot in the arm the national economy desperately needs.”

Unite is urging everyone who is employed directly in the aerospace industry or indirectly associated with it to contact their MP and ask them to lobby the government for support for the sector.

Suzanne Reid added: “If you work in the NEYH aerospace sector, know someone who does, or simply value quality jobs in our region please help us save this flagship industry that is so vital to our communities. Pick up the phone to your MP or drop them an email. Only by speaking up together can we win the future our workers absolutely deserve.”

Latest blow to civil aviation in Scotland as North Air announces redundancies

Unite Scotland has today (1 July) warned that dozens of workers employed by North Air face redundancy at Edinburgh and Glasgow airports.  is a fuel tanker company for aircraft based at both airports The proposed job cuts will mean that North Air will reduce its operations by over 30 per cent at Edinburgh airport and more than 25 per cent at Glasgow airport.

The latest blow to the civil aviation industry follows a series of companies and airlines announcing major job cuts, and the slashing of terms of conditions for the remaining workforce such as those at British Airways.

Companies operating in and from Aberdeen airport have various redundancy consultations underway – which Unite is directly involved in – threatening more than 100 jobs. At Edinburgh airport, Unite is involved in redundancy consultations affecting more than 1,000 jobs including Menzies Aviation, Swissport, ICTS, City Flyer and Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), the company which owns the airport.  At Glasgow airport, Unite is also involved in redundancy consultations affecting more than 500 workers at companies including Menzies Aviation, ICTS, and Swissport.

Last week, the country’s leading civil aviation trade union formally wrote to the first minister for the second time demanding the immediate establishment of a Civil Aviation Task Force to deal with the unfolding jobs crisis at Scotland’s three major airports resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Pat McIlvogue, Unite regional industrial officer, in response to the proposed redundancies at North Air said: “North Air has worked constructively with Unite up until this point by using the UK government’s job retention scheme.  However, the company has unilaterally decided to break from this approach and it has issued redundancy notices affecting up to 30 per cent of tits workforce at Edinburgh Airport and more than 25 per cent at Glasgow airport.”

“It’s the latest domino to fall in the industry and thousands of jobs are hanging by a thread. Unite fully understands the situation facing civil aviation and that’s why we have written to the first minister last week for the second time demanding a coordinated national response so that we can safeguard thousands of Scottish jobs.”

EasyJet jobs announcement ‘massive blow’ and highlights the need for government action

Major job losses

This latest announcement of major job losses in aviation again highlights the failure of the government to provide urgently needed specific support to protect jobs and airports. This is in stark contrast to many other major countries which have provided multi-billion pound support packages for their aviation industries including France, Germany, Spain and the United States.

The union is also questioning easyJet’s decision to make workers redundant given that the company has received a £600 million loan from the government and has also recently paid out £174 million as a dividend to shareholders.

Massive blow

Unite national officer for civil aviation Oliver Richardson said: “This is yet another massive blow to the aviation industry and our thoughts are with workers who face losing their jobs through no fault of their own.

 “There is no need for this announcement at this time, especially since easyJet has taken a multi-million pounds government loan which it ought to be putting to use defending UK jobs.

 “This is a company with its priorities all wrong.  It has paid a multi-million dividend to its shareholders, borrowed hundred of millions from the government to buy new aircraft and has fully utilised the jobs retention scheme.  It absolutely should not be allowed to make huge redundancies a few weeks later.

 “The latest announcement further demonstrates why it is absolutely essential that the government extends its job retention scheme for the aviation sector, which has been one of the industries worst hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“We are now more than three months on since the Chancellor promised support for UK aviation.  

 “The government’s ongoing failure to provide such support is directly resulting in huge job losses throughout the industry and is threatening the viability of airlines and airports alike.

 “The aviation industry is essential to the future prosperity of the UK’s economy and it is essential that the UK government, steps up to the plate and provides specific support in line with other nations.”

Blueprint for industry

Unite has produced a blueprint of how the government should intervene across the entire aviation sector including airlines and airports to protect the jobs and conditions of workers. Such loans would come with strict strings attached regarding executive pay, corporate governance and requiring stringent environmental standards to be adopted to radically reduce the industry’s carbon footprint.

Drax power station workers gear up for strike ballot after rejecting offer on redundancies

Workers at the Drax power station in north Yorkshire are gearing up to hold a ballot for strike action over 230 proposed redundancies, after overwhelmingly rejecting the latest offer from the company.

Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, said today (Tuesday 30 June) that the prospect of strike action later this summer had resurfaced after the union’s members had rejected the management’s latest offer by 84 per cent in a consultative ballot.

Unite said that if the workers voted for strike action it would be the first time that such action had taken place at the highly profitable plant, owned by the Drax Group Ltd.

The dispute centres on the six-unit site at Selby where the company is planning to close two coal-fired units next April. The other four units are bio mass, using wood chip pellets. The coal powered units are being replaced by gas generation ones.

Unite said that when the pay deal was hammered out last year, it was agreed that there would be no compulsory redundancies amongst the 600-strong workforce, but the company has now backtracked on that agreement.

Unite regional officer Shane Sweeting said: “The members have rejected the revised offer by an 84 per cent majority and voted to proceed to an industrial action ballot.

“Our members even offered to take a pay and bonus freeze to improve redundancy terms and maintain jobs, but that has been rejected by the bosses. 

“This must be seen against a background of a soaring share price based on the future development at Drax and huge profits of £415 million generated in the last financial year by the Selby site alone.

“However if the company adopted a scheme of natural wastage as workers left or retired, this would cost just £25 million a year for a limited period until the workforce is reduced.

“What we have here is a classic case of bad faith by the management as this highly profitable company pledged there would no compulsory redundancies when the pay deal was agreed in 2019.

“They backtracked on this promise, despite the Selby staff working flat-out during the pandemic and being classed as key workers. So we are now preparing for the strike ballot which will be held in July.”

McCluskey response to PM’s speech: Workers urgently need a bridge to the new economy to avert a jobs abyss

Len McCluskey, the Unite general secretary, said:  “We welcome the prime minister’s promise to build our way back better than before. That’s a fine ambition but it has to be matched with the ambition and the investment which accompanied FDR’s new deal.  

“Today, however, we appear to have only been promised FDR’s loose change and some second-hand spending plans. While the US got the Hoover dam, the pandemic-hit UK gets a re-announcement of repairs to some bridges in Sandwell.

“There is no doubt that this country’s frayed infrastructure needs investment, so we hope that there is much more to come from the prime minister. 

“But this can only be part of the promise to the people of the country. The bald truth is that our country is staring at a jobs abyss which will open up this summer and swallow millions of working people.  Averting that needs urgent and immediate investment to keep people in work now, with steady wages coming home now, not the promise of an infrastructure project sometime in the future.

“I urge the prime minister to confirm that very soon we will hear that his government will follow in the footsteps of France and Germany with a proper plan to save and grow jobs in the immediate term and on the scale so desperately needed.  

“He should begin by announcing that the jobs retention scheme will be extended at least until 2021, as it has been in France and Germany, so that there is a bridge between today and the emerging economy he promises.  

“Without that bridge, employers will shed jobs in huge numbers this summer and the trauma and havoc of this virus will give way to the trauma and enduring human misery of mass unemployment.”

Shadow Chancellor calls for ‘Back to Work Budget’ in first major speech

In her first major speech as Shadow Chancellor, Anneliese Dodds MP will tomorrow (Friday 3 July) call on the government to “recognise the scale of the challenge we face” by committing to a “Back to Work Budget focused on jobs, jobs, jobs”.

As well as setting out four tests the Chancellor’s ‘Summer Economic Statement’ must meet to deliver for Britain, she will call on the government to extend furlough schemes in areas that are forced into local lockdowns, “so that localised second waves don’t wash away businesses and jobs in their wake”.

Ms Dodds’ four tests for the recovery are:

  • A focus on creating, supporting and protecting jobs
  • That it produces a bounce-back effect across the country
  • That every project announced is carbon neutral or carbon reducing
  • That the government commits, at the very least, to not increase taxes or cut support for low and middle-income people, during the recovery period

Highlighting the government’s record of over-promising and under-delivering on investment over the last decade, Ms Dodds will say: “We need guarantees of delivery, not just warm words. For 10 years, the Conservatives have talked and talked: they have not built.”

And she will also criticise the Chancellor for taking a ‘wait and see’ approach to supporting the economy, when action is needed now to prevent an unemployment crisis. The Shadow Chancellor will say “the reward for months of sacrifice cannot be a redundancy notice”.

The Chancellor has also been reported to be reluctant to support individual areas of the economy because he doesn’t want to ‘pick winners.’ The Shadow Chancellor will pour scorn on the Chancellor’s belief that “helping a local pub or family-run restaurant that has been boarded up at the direction of government is somehow cheating the natural order of things”.

On supporting businesses:

“It has been heartbreaking to hear from many of them [small business owners] in recent weeks, how they feel their businesses slipping through their fingers because of a temporary lack of cashflow even though with the right, targeted support now, they would be perfectly viable in the long term.

“That frustration, that anger, at working hard all your life, playing by the rules, doing the right thing, waiting your place patiently in the queue, only to find it snatched away from you by a combination of this terrible crisis and government’s refusal to help. That isn’t about ‘picking winners’. That’s basic fairness.”

On the government’s ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to ending support schemes:

“As with the lifting of lockdown, what we have now is an exit without a strategy.  Government must abandon its one-size-fits-all wind-down of the Job Protection and self-employed schemes.

“We need a targeted strategy that acknowledges that workers in struggling sectors cannot and should not be treated the same way as workers in sectors that are already back to full capacity. This is not about ‘picking winners’, in the Chancellor’s words. It is about protecting those who have lost – through no fault of their own. It is about giving people across the country a fair chance. The reward for months of sacrifice cannot be a redundancy notice.

“This week we saw a wave of companies announcing enormous job losses – because the government is refusing to shift from its one-size-fits-all approach. To avoid the same flood of redundancy notices for workers within smaller companies later on this month, government must act now – and abandon its one-size-fits-all approach.”

Government needs to say clearly what businesses need to do – Louise Haigh

Louise Haigh, Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, commenting on news that HMRC documents show firms in Britain will need to complete three types of electronic paperwork, said:

“Ministers wasted eight months insisting these checks would never be needed. Businesses are still in the dark and the new system to manage these checks doesn’t yet exist.

“The Government needs to say clearly what businesses need to do, what proportion of goods will face physical checks and how they are going to help Northern Irish businesses weather these new costs.

“This level of incompetence would be irresponsible at any time but, right now, it is completely reckless. Jobs have already been lost and their cavalier approach risks costing many more.”

Govt announcement on jobs and infrastructure – Dodds responds

Anneliese Dodds MP, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, responding to the Government’s announcement on jobs and infrastructure, said:

“Unemployment has climbed to its highest level in a generation, and our country is suffering the worst economic hit of all industrialised nations. But instead of the Back-to-Work Budget our country needs focusing on one thing – jobs, jobs, jobs – the Chancellor will only be providing an ‘update’ on the economy.

“We urgently need the Conservatives to abandon their ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to the economic support schemes, which will inevitably lead to additional unemployment. And we need concrete action and a laser-like focus preventing further job losses and supporting future employment.”

Starmer: Economic recovery must be built on “solid foundations” after lost decade of Tory inaction

Starmer: Economic recovery must be built on “solid foundations” after lost decade of Tory inaction

Labour leader Keir Starmer has urged the Prime Minister to deliver an economic recovery built on ‘solid foundations’ after a lost decade of inaction and broken promises under the Conservatives.

Ahead of the Prime Minister’s speech on Tuesday, the Labour leader has warned that the country cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of the past ten years.

Starmer cites the Tories’ 2015 ‘Starter Homes’ initiative that promised 200,000 affordable homes but failed to produce a single property.

The warning comes as new analysis by Labour reveals that under the Tories:

  • The rate of home ownership has fallen, and almost 800,000 fewer households under 45 own their own home now compared to in 2010.
  • Seven of England’s nine regions saw a reduction in public capital investment per person over the past ten years.
  • In some parts of the country, including Yorkshire, East Midlands and the South West, investment per person is still less than half that seen in London.
  • All regions have seen a decrease in both health and education investment per person.
  • Average wages last year were still lower than they were in 2010 across England.

Keir Starmer has urged the Prime Minister to plot a route to recovery that works for the whole of Britain.

Speaking ahead of the Prime Minister’s speech, Keir Starmer said:

“For much of the country, the Tories’ record on building and investment has been a lost decade.

“Much-hyped plans such as the Starter Homes initiative – which built zero houses despite having £2.3 billion allocated to it – barely even made it beyond the press release. It’s been talk, talk, talk rather than build, build, build.

“Our recovery from the coronavirus crisis needs to match the scale of the challenge. It must be built on solid foundations. It has to work for the whole country and end the deep injustices across the country.

“We are on the cusp of one of the biggest economic crises we have ever seen. The Government must immediately prioritise protecting people’s lives and livelihoods. That’s why Labour has called for a ‘Back to Work’ Budget that has a laser-like focus on one thing – jobs, jobs, jobs.”

1 in 6 automotive jobs threatened – Lucy Powell

Lucy Powell MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Business and Consumers, commenting on the warning from UK Auto that the Covid-19 crisis threatens 1 in 6 jobs in the sector, said:

“This warning from the automotive industry underlines the scale of the crisis facing British manufacturing. It’s clear that the government must act to safeguard our car industry and the hundreds of thousands of high paid high skilled jobs in communities that can ill afford to lose them.

“We are in danger of being overtaken by international competitors like France who have stepped in to support and sustain their car industries through this crisis. With the right action now, the UK could lead the world in a green revolution in automotive. No action will lead to devastation and long-term damage to communities who rely on these jobs. That’s why Labour is calling for a green recovery and a back to work budget focused on jobs, jobs, jobs.”