Aston Martin was urged today (June 4) to reconsider the scale and number of the proposed 500 job losses at its luxury sports car plant in Gaydon, Warwickshire.
Aston Martin announced 500 job losses across the group, which has a total workforce of 2,600, but Unite says that the threatened losses will fall almost entirely on the Warwickshire plant which employs about 1,600 people.
Unite said that the job losses were a result of the company’s ‘dire’ financial situation, despite a 25 per cent stake taken by a consortium led by Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll. The financial situation had been compounded by coronavirus which had seen the luxury car market collapse.
Unite regional officer Tim Parker said, “This is a really cruel blow to the workers and their families, as well as a massive hit to the West Midlands economy and the supply chain. We can ill-afford to lose such highly skilled, world-class manufacturing workers.
“We urge the company to reconsider the scale and number of the redundancies during the 45-day consultation period as the UK economy will need their highly-prized skills once the pandemic recedes.
“We will oppose any compulsory redundancies and any job losses should be achieved via voluntary means,” he added. “We also call on the UK government to provide financial support and investment for Aston Martin to protect the future of this UK-based world class sports car manufacturer and the thousands of jobs that rely on it through the UK components chain.
“At the same time as Aston Martin has been making use of the taxpayer-funded job retention scheme (JRS) to furlough the majority of the workforce, it is now planning to throw a third of the Gaydon workforce onto the scrapheap – we think that is repugnant.”
“The job losses have come about due to the company’s dire financial situation, despite a 25 per cent stake taken by a consortium led by billionaire Lawrence Stroll,” Parker went on to say. “This has been made worse by the coronavirus emergency which has badly hit the luxury sports car market.
“We can’t allow jobs at this iconic British company to be sacrificed on the altar of short-termism – we need to plan now for the post-pandemic economy and getting rid of Aston Martin workers is not a good start for achieving that goal.”
Assurances sought for Aston Martin workers in Wales
Meanwhile, Unite lead officer for the automotive sector in Wales, Bryan Godsell, commented on the decision in relation to the Aston Martin plant in St Athan, Wales.
“Unite the Union in Wales recognises that any announcement of this sort will cause significant concern amongst the workers at St Athan, especially given the current trends across the Automotive Sector in the UK and its importance to the economy of Wales,” he said.
“We are seriously concerned about the potential impact of the announcement upon our members at Aston Martin in Gaydon and its other sites in the UK.
“However, Unite in Wales is not as concerned about any impact upon the DBX project at AML St Athan at this stage because the site is not yet at full capacity or in full production. Naturally there will be concerns amongst the permanent and temporary workforce alongside contractors on site at St Athan about their future. We will therefore be looking for assurances from AML over employment security and its future plans for the DBX project at St Athan.
“Our members at AML St Athan can be sure that Unite will fully engage in the formal consultation process with Aston Martin to protect as many jobs as possible and to secure their future.”