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Unite warns of job loss ‘avalanche’ in Britain's aerospace industry

BRITAIN is on course to lose its aerospace industry if urgent action is not taken, union Unite warned today.

12,000 jobs have already been lost in the sector in recent months, including 1,700 at Airbus, according to research by the union.

Unite warns that job losses in the industry — which employs over 100,000 workers — could “snowball into an avalanche of further redundancies.”

Britain’s aerospace sector is the second largest in Europe and third biggest globally, with 3,000 companies registered in the country. 

Unite said it wanted the government to follow the lead of countries such as France and Germany and put in place a programme for the sector to survive, rebuild and recover.

Assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: “Unless we see comprehensive action to support UK aerospace now, then this world-class industry could well be lost on the Johnson government’s watch. 

“This is a sector that generates billions for the national coffers, helping fund our NHS, public services and the government’s promised infrastructure spend. 

“It supports jobs the length and breadth of the country and is central to UK national security.”

Mr Turner added that the workforce had “stepped up” during the pandemic by manufacturing ventilators for the NHS and other equipment needed to get through the crisis.

A government spokesman said ministers would work closely with the industry to “ensure it can rebuild as the civil-aviation market recovers.” 

The redundancies at Airbus came after the firm announced on Tuesday that its production had dropped by 40 per cent and that it did not expect air traffic to return to pre-lockdown levels until 2023. 

The aviation industry continues to reel from the fallout from the pandemic, with Easyjet announcing 2,000 job losses this week. 

Proponents of a green recovery are urging ministers not to bail out airlines without environmental conditions attached, and want to see such sectors radically overhauled in order to lower carbon emissions. 

At a protest outside the Bank of England today, Extinction Rebellion activists expressed anger at its issuing of billions in corporate bailouts without a single environmental condition attached. 

Activist and former airline pilot Todd Smith said: “Airlines shouldn’t be given any public money without serious climate conditions attached, along with protection for workers and support for them to move into lower-carbon sectors as part of a just transition.”


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