Tag Archives: redundancies

Union warns that there will be no`build, build, build’ unless government acts to avert construction apprenticeship crisis

he prime minister’s recent promise to `build, build, build’ the UK back to economic health will not be `get very far’ unless urgent action is taken to avert a crisis in skills and apprenticeship development, the country’s leading construction union has claimed today Monday 6 July .

Lethal combination

Unite the union says that a lethal combination of employers’ long-standing reluctance to invest in apprentices, allied to widespread redundancies because of the pandemic and a reluctance to recruit new entrants due to the ongoing economic uncertainty, is likely to result in there being 20,000 fewer apprentices across the sector this autumn, vastly down from the 47,284 in England last year (2019).

Industry forecasts have also indicated that there will be a sharp decline in the construction apprenticeship intake this autumn. Without the skills needed to support the sector, Unite fears that some construction contracts will have to be cancelled placing more construction workers on the dole.

Redundancy fears

The union also understands that at least 50 per cent of electrical construction apprentices are currently furloughed, with growing concerns that as the job retention scheme winds down they will be made redundant.

Such is the union’s concern, it has written to the chancellor Rishi Sunak requesting that the Chancellor uses his upcoming economic statement to “implement without delay economic policies that can help save existing construction apprenticeship jobs and ensure the summer 2020 intake of construction apprentices is of a level to meet the industry’s future needs.”

Failure to recruit

For decades the construction industry has failed to recruit and train sufficient apprentices but the skills crisis has been masked by the heavy reliance on migrant labour.  However, with changes to government policy on immigration that option will no longer be so easily available.

Additionally, construction has an ageing workforce and many workers are forced to leave the industry before state retirement age due to illness or injury.

Workforce needed

Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: “The prime minister’s pledge to build, build, build the country’s way out of this pandemic-caused crisis won’t get very far without a workforce.

“Construction apprenticeship training is in danger of collapsing as an after-effect of the pandemic, which is why we’re calling on the chancellor to make it clear when he announces his plans for recovering the economy this coming week that our young workers will be given a chance of a career in construction.

“At the moment, for every one good quality apprenticeship, there are one thousand applicants. Young workers have to scale this huge mountain so it is only right that they have the chance to complete their apprenticeship and have a job at the end of their training. 

“Furthermore, without these young skilled workers the industry will struggle to recover from the recession as contracts will be cancelled because there is a serious lack of expert workers.

“There has been a long-term skills and training crisis in the construction sector but the Covid-19 pandemic along with the changes to immigration law have brought this to a head.

 “Unite is working closely with responsible employers and trade associations in order to tackle the challenges on apprentice recruitment but to really conquer the challenges we face, the government must step in to support existing apprentices and ensure that new recruits will have a pathway into construction employment.”

Action required

Unite is calling for the chancellor and the government to adopt the following measures:

  • Extension of apprentice wage support to safeguard jobs
  • Repurposing of the apprenticeship levy funds to fund all first year apprentices’ pay
  • Public sector procurement policies that ensure the recruitment of high quality apprentice
  • The extension of the job guarantee scheme so that apprentice opportunities are delivered in public-funded infrastructure projects.

Unite bitterly disappointed that proposals to save Northwood Hygiene Penygroes are rejected

Directors at Northwood Hygiene have today rejected proposals from Unite representatives aimed at saving the Penygroes site which will now result in its closure and the loss of 94 jobs. Despite extensive efforts of the Unite representatives during the 30 day consultation and potential financial support from Welsh Government, the Company have confirmed their decision to close the site by October 2020.

Daryl Williams, Unite Regional Officer:

“The decision from the Company today will come as a bitter blow to the workers and the loss of these jobs will also be crippling to the local economy of Nantlle Valley and the surrounding area. Unite Reps pulled out all the stops to save the site with counter proposals that had potential financial support from Welsh Government but ultimately it wasn’t enough to persuade the company to maintain production at the site.

Unite will now focus on supporting our members at this difficult time. We will be seeking the best possible redundancy packages and maximum help with finding new employment.”

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.”

East Midlands aerospace industry at ‘five to midnight’ as government stays silent on support

Unite, the East Midlands’ leading union, is warning that the region’s world-beating aerospace industry is at ‘five to midnight’, staring at the loss of thousands of highly skilled jobs and billions in economic contribution unless the sector receives urgent support from the government.

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

Unite’s warning comes after aerospace parts firm SPS Technologies announced more than 350 job losses across the region, while Turbine Surface Technologies Ltd has announced more than 100 job losses. Meanwhile East Midlands employer Rolls Royce is planning to shed 3,000 jobs across the UK.

With a huge decline in new orders and maintenance work – a knock-on effect from the pandemic hit to the aviation sector – many more 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 East Midlands and the entire UK aerospace sector. The analysis profiles the importance of the sector to the region’s economy and reveals:

  • The East Midlands region is heavily reliant on the aerospace sector, with 25,900 workers being employed in the sector.
  • There are 130 employers in the region split between 45 manufacturing companies and 85 companies specialising in the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) of aircraft.
  • Major aerospace employers in the region include BAE, Rolls Royce, Bombardier and Leonardo.
  • The sector is incredibly valuable for the region generating more than £1 billion in gross value added per annum.
  • The greatest number of aerospace employers is in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

According to Unite, which has been battling for sector support since March, large-scale job losses would have a crippling effect on both the East Midlands’ 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 secretary for the East Midlands, Paresh Patel, said: “Aerospace is absolutely crucial to the East Midlands’ 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 for the sector to preserve skills and jobs, and bring forward a package of support for the aerospace sector which would not only preserve jobs in the East Midlands 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.

Paresh Patel added: “If you work in the East Midlands aerospace sector or know someone who does, then please help us save this flagship industry and keep our communities in work. 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.”

Welsh aerospace industry at ‘five to midnight’ as government stays silent on support

The union is appealing to the people of Wales to get behind its campaign to keep jobs and incomes in their communities.

Unite’s warning comes as more than 1,700 jobs have been lost this week at Airbus, which could have a huge impact at the company’s flagship site at Broughton, North East Wales.

With a huge decline in new orders and maintenance work – a knock-on effect from the pandemic hit to the aviation sector – many more jobs are at risk in the industry right across the country. 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 both the Welsh and the UK aerospace sector. The analysis profiles the importance of the sector to Wale’s economy and reveals:

  • Wales is heavily reliant on the aerospace sector, with 11,700 workers being employed in the sector.
  • There are 235 employers across Wales split between 50 manufacturing companies and 185 companies specialising in the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) of aircraft.
  • Major aerospace employers in Wales include Airbus, GE, BAE and Safran.
  • The sector is incredibly valuable for the region generating more than £1.4 billion in gross value added per annum.
  • The greatest number of aerospace employers is in West Wales and The Valleys.

According to Unite, which has been battling for sector support since March, large-scale job losses would have a crippling effect on both Wales’ and the UK’s economies: 10,000 aerospace jobs lost would see more than £4 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 secretary for Wales, Peter Hughes, said: “Aerospace is absolutely crucial to the Welsh 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 the UK 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 for the sector to preserve skills and jobs, and bring forward a package of support for the aerospace sector which would not only preserve jobs in Wales but be the shot in the arm the entire UK 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.

Peter Hughes added: “If you work in the Welsh aerospace sector or know someone who does, then please help us save this flagship industry and keep our communities in work. 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.”

West Midlands aerospace industry at ‘five to midnight’ as government stays silent on support

Unite, the West Midlands’ leading union, is warning that the region’s world-beating aerospace industry is at ‘five to midnight’, staring at the loss of thousands of highly skilled jobs and billions in economic contribution unless the sector receives urgent support from the government.

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

Unite’s warning comes after Collins Aerospace announced 300 potential redundancies at its sites in Wolverhampton, Birmingham Marston Green as well as at Banbury in Oxfordshire. Aerospace parts firm SPS Technologies has also announced 100 job losses at its factory in Rugby. Meanwhile West Midlands employer Rolls Royce is planning to shed 3,000 jobs across the UK.

With a huge decline in new orders and maintenance work – a knock-on effect from the pandemic hit to the aviation sector – many more jobs are at risk in the industry right across the region. More than 12,000 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 West Midlands’ and the entire UK aerospace sector. The analysis profiles the importance of the sector to the region’s economy and reveals:

  • The West Midlands region is heavily reliant on the aerospace sector, with 5,100 workers being employed in the sector.
  • There are 100 employers in the region split between 50 manufacturing companies and 50 companies specialising in the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) of aircraft.
  • Major aerospace employers in the region include BAE, Bombardier, GKN, Rolls Royce and Collins Aerospace.
  • The sector is incredibly valuable for the region generating £756 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 West Midlands’ 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 for the West Midlands, Andy Taylor, said: “Aerospace is absolutely crucial to the West Midlands’ 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 for the sector to preserve skills and jobs, and bring forward a package of support for the aerospace sector which would not only preserve jobs in the West Midlands 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.

Andy Taylor added: “If you work in the West Midlands’ aerospace sector or know someone who does, then please help us save this flagship industry and keep our communities in work. 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.”