Tag Archives: Wales

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.”

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.”

Airbus job cuts ‘vandalism’ – but UK government sits on sidelines while a national asset is destroyed

Unite, the UK’s leading manufacturing union, has described today’s announcement by Airbus that it is to slash 1,727 UK jobs as ‘another act of industrial vandalism’ against the country’s under-attack aerospace sector.

Calling on the government to stop watching from the sidelines while a national asset is destroyed, the union said that No 10 must ‘step up to the plate’, just as leaders in France and Germany have, to protect the sector. In recent weeks, jobs have gone hand over fist in the UK while other competitor governments shore up their businesses and actively protect jobs.

Airbus says that the jobs will go right across its UK operations including at its largest factories at Broughton in North Wales 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.

However, 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 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.

“With every day that goes by without any action to support this sector from the UK government, our competitors cheer.

“Of course, immediate job losses at a word-class company like Airbus underlines the challenges faced by the aerospace sector, caused by the massive downturn in aviation in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“But we are in no doubt that it is absolutely essential that the government could do so much more. For a start, it could extend the job retention scheme for sectors such as aerospace which have been most severely hit by the pandemic.  

“If not, there will be an avalanche of job losses this summer – and a world-class aerospace sector built over generations and with so much more to give this country will be lost.”

Airbus plans would have “devastating impact” for Welsh economy

Airbus is one of Wales key anchor companies and is central to the future prosperity of the Welsh economy. Any significant loss of jobs at Broughton would further accelerate job losses in the aerospace sector in Wales. The past week has already seen job losses at both Magellan Aerospace and MIC.

Peter Hughes, Unite Wales Regional Secretary commented:

“The significance of large scale job losses at Airbus would have a devastating impact on the aerospace sector in Wales and on the wider Welsh economy. Unite has been calling for the UK Government to put a plan of support in place for the Aerospace sector for months. This support has been provided by France and Germany, will the UK Government now step up to the plate and do everything required to support UK aviation jobs?

“We are calling upon Airbus to hold their nerve and step back from implementing their plan. Everything must be done to engage with Government to see if the necessary support can be provided to delay this decision until this crisis abates. Certainly further extension of the furlough scheme to the aerospace sector would be a medium term solution whilst it rebuilds and recovers.

“Unite will not accept any proposal that involves compulsory redundancy for our members. The workforce at Broughton is world class, and have shown time and again how they are able to adapt and evolve their working practices to maintain the sites position as a central cog in Airbus European operations. Unite is open to working constructively with Airbus to look at all options available in order to maintain the maximum number of jobs at Broughton. Everyone in Wales recognises how important Airbus can be to the economic recovery of Wales post-Covid19. If the UK Government does not step in now to ensure the support is there for Airbus to get through this crisis, the consequences for Wales could be catastrophic”.

MIC announcement yet another blow to Welsh aerospace sector

Following today’s announcement by Metal Improvement Company (MIC) that they intend to make almost 60 redundancies at the site in Broughton is another big blow to the Welsh aerospace sector. The news comes only a day after 240 redundancies were announced at Magellan, also in North East Wales.

The redundancies form part of a consistent and worrying cycle of job losses in the aerospace sector, further confirming Unites call for an immediate package of UK Government financial support to support jobs and skills retention. 

Dave Griffiths, Unite Regional Officer commented:

“This is devastating news for the workers at Metal Improvement Company. The highly skilled workforce employed at MIC have been dealt a cruel double blow through the reduction in panel work from both Airbus and projected work from other customers such as Magellan. 

“Unite in Wales is ready to work with the employer to offset as many at risk employees as possible. The aerospace sector is clearly is a deep and urgent crisis. Without immediate Government intervention for the Aerospace sector the loss of skills in Wales will have a generational impact on the industry’s ability to bounce back in a post Brexit economy.

“Unite will be doing everything possible to support our members during this difficult and worrying time”.

Wales TUC statement on today’s employment and pay figures

Commenting on the latest figures on employment and pay, published today (Tuesday) by the Office for National Statistics, which show a fall in pay, a rise in the claimant count and a sharp fall in vacancies and hours, and PAYE data which shows continued falls in jobs and pay in April and May, Wales TUC General Secretary Shavanah Taj said:

It is only government intervention through the Job Retention Scheme and other measures that has prevented these figures being much, much worse.

And it is only governments – both in Westminster and in Cardiff – that have the tools to protect jobs in the coming months.

The alternative is tens of thousands consigned to the despair of unemployment, thousands of family businesses going to the wall and public services stretched to breaking point.

The support being offered to workers must be sustained for as long as it is needed. And beyond that Wales will need an ambitious economic stimulus package focused on green investment, protecting high quality jobs in our manufacturing sector, expanding employability and skills support, and investing in new business models built on fair work principles.

Breakdown of Unite talks with Rowan Foods Puts Workers & General Public At Risk

Talks between Unite and Rowan foods regarding health and safety issues and the payment of staff self-isolating due to the Covid19 outbreak on site, have broken down. Unite has been seeking assurances around improved health and safety measures on site to prevent further outbreaks of coronavirus amongst the workforce. It has also been seeking full pay for staff who are being required to self-isolate though Covid19.

Dave Griffiths Unite Regional Officer commented:

“Unite is extremely disappointed by the manner in which Rowan Foods have conducted themselves during discussions with us, both during and prior to the Covid19 outbreak at the plant.

Our members employed by Rowan are extremely concerned that the company has not taken the health and safety concerns that Unite has been raising since early June, with the urgent attention that they demand. Workers who are frightened for their own, and their family’s safety, must be reassured that no stone is being left unturned in the efforts to further protect them from contacting Covid19 whilst at work.

Rowan Foods should immediately introduce full pay for workers who are off work due to either having Covid19 or self-isolating after being contacted through Welsh Governments Test, Trace and Protect system. For workers already suffering from low pay it is morally bankrupt to then ask them, through no fault of their own, to self-isolate and survive on SSP. The simple fact is that some workers will continue to come to work and ignore the guidance if they are suffering financial detriment.

Protecting workers and the general public cannot be done on the cheap. Rowan Foods, who are an extremely profitable company, supplying some of the biggest names in the UK food industry have to step up to the plate. They have to put the appropriate health and safety measures alongside adequate financial support for the workforce, if they are to get themselves out of the current crisis that has enveloped them”.

Unite welcome and applaud the decision by the Executive Board of Cwm Taf Morgannwg to recommend to keep a 24 hour A&E department at The Royal Glamorgan Hospital

Prior to the COVID pandemic Unite the Union campaigned tirelessly to oppose the proposals to downgrade the A&E department at The RGH. The proposals would have left the Rhondda Cynon Taf area without an 24 hour A&E department. Local Unite representatives spearheaded Unite’s campaign due to their concerns about the impact on the community and the impact on staff within The RGH and the neighbouring hospitals. Unite worked together with the community campaign but with the specific focus of expressing the views of the workforce. Unite representatives spoke to thousands of staff at The RGH and across the CTM and collected 1500 signatures off staff on a petition asking the Health Board management to keep the A&E as a 24 hour service.

Unite were one of the only NHS trade unions to fully support the campaign and the most active trade union campaigners. We therefore applaud the Executive Board for making the right decision and we are calling on the full board to accept the recommendation. We know that the residents who use the RGH and the staff from CTM will support such a decision by the full board.

Dean Fackrell, Branch Chair of the CTM Branch stated:

“On behalf of Unite we are extremely happy that the Executive Board of Cwm Taf Morgannwg have listened to all the concerns that we have raised as a trade union. We campaigned hard so that the local residents and the workforce were listened to and it gives me great pleasure to be able to applaud the decision that my employer has made. There is one more step in securing the future of the 24 hour A&E service and we therefore ask the full board to follow accept the recommendation from the executive board. We campaigned hard so that the local residents and the workforce were listened to and it gives me great pleasure to be able to applaud the decision that my employer has made. As a trade union we worked hard on this issue and it demonstrates beyond doubt the importance of not giving up when you believe in something. Unite view this news as a major victory for the local residents and staff at The RGH and the surrounding hospitals.”

2 Sisters Food Group Announcement is Welcomed by Unite

Following further negotiations between 2SFG and Unite, we welcome today’s announcement by 2 Sisters Food Group (2SFG) that all of the 560 staff employed at their Llangefni site will be paid in full for the 2 week self-isolation period imposed following the Covid19 outbreak.

The payment will be made out of a £1m hardship fund established by the company to support employees during the current crisis. 2SFG will now work closely with Unite to ensure all the employees are able to return safely to work at the end of the current self-isolation period.

Peter Hughes, Unite Wales Regional Secretary commented:

“Unite welcomes the decision by 2 Sisters to agree to our call for all employees to receive full pay during the period of self-isolation. The company has rightly recognised that their workforce should not suffer any financial detriment during this necessary process of quarantine. 

Unite is committed to working very closely with 2 Sisters in order to put every measure in place to ensure the workplace is as safe as it can possibly be when the workforce return. No stone should be left unturned in the process of protecting our members and the wider community”. 

Wales will “Never Forgive” PM if he blocks Swansea Tidal Lagoon

Unite the union is extremely concerned by media reports that the UK Government is set to block the go ahead for the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon project. With only 8 days left until planning consent for the project expires, there is considerable speculation that Whitehall officials are sabotaging the scheme which would be a landmark infrastructure project for Wales and the UK.

Unite the union has consistently backed the project, seeing it as a way of revitalising the economy of South West Wales and positioning Wales and the UK as a world leader in the emerging green tidal energy sector.

Peter Hughes, Unite Wales Regional Secretary commented;

“Welsh manufacturing has taken a hammering during recent years. The Covid19 pandemic has worsened this trend and industrial employment in Wales has taken giant strides backwards in recent months.

Supporting the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon project would be a perfect opportunity for the UK Government to show that Wales will not, yet again, be at the back of the queue when it comes to landmark infrastructure projects. Boris Johnson has previously gone on the record in Wales supporting this project, he has to keep his word on this.

It beggars belief that a Government touting ‘green recovery’ continues to ignore the one piece of green infrastructure sitting shovel-ready in Wales and the one opportunity we have to seed a new growth industry in Wales. This project makes economic and environmental sense and would give our country hope that it can emerge from this crisis with some hope for the future.

Wales wants and needs this project. If Boris Johnson rows back from previous commitments and continues in the Tory tradition of ignoring the needs of Wales, he will never be forgiven.”