Prime minister Boris Johnson must show the same ‘dedication’ to the lockdown-hit aerospace industry as he has to the £900,000 paint job being given to his official plane, Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, said today (Thursday 18 June).
Unite said skilled workers at Marshall’s, which has been awarded the contract to paint the plane in Union Jack colours, will welcome the work which could ‘secure jobs in the short term’.
But the union warned that without significant state support for the wider aerospace sector, such as that provided by the US, French, German and Spanish governments, thousands of UK jobs will be put at risk.
Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said,“The skilled workforce at Marshall’s, many of whom are Unite members, will welcome the opportunity to work on this project, which may even secure some jobs in the short term.
“But this is a sector staring at a very difficult future and this workforce – and the aerospace workforce across the UK – would really appreciate the prime minister showing the dedication to supporting these jobs that he is demonstrating to the artwork on a plane,” he added.
“It is now more than three months since ministers promised action to protect our jobs, but while France and Germany have moved forward, our government has done nothing,” Turner went on to say.
“This is also a military service plane operated by the RAF, occasionally used by both the Queen and government. It’s not the UK PM’s AirForce 1 and it’s grey for a reason, which is to avoid making it easily identifiable while carrying the Queen, the prime minister or our service personnel.
“We would ask the prime minister to confirm that the change to a branded livery has been assessed, is safe and in the interests of national security.
“UK aerospace workers, like those in automotive and right across manufacturing, are asking why this government is taking so long to give them the support that governments in France, Germany, Spain and the US have wasted no time in providing to their strategically important sectors.”
By Ryan Fletcher