Bristol GKN jobs at risk

As Bristol GKN threatens one in five job losses, Unite calls for all options to save jobs to be considered

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Unite is calling on GKN Western Approach to consider all options to eradicate or mitigate proposed job losses at its factory in Bristol as it continues to fight for government support for the hard-hit industry.

The company announced on Monday (August 3) that it is seeking to make 64 workers redundant at the factory, which builds aircraft wings, out of an overall figure of just over 300 – a 20 per cent reduction in staff.

The job losses follow a voluntary severance scheme opened by the company earlier this year.

Unite is calling on GKN to work with the union to explore all options to preserve jobs, including the possibility of introducing temporary short-term working, in order to preserve as many jobs as possible.

As a bottom line, Unite believes that GKN must rule out compulsory redundancies.

Unite is also calling upon the government to play its part with growing fears that with the job retention scheme (JRS) ending in October, companies will feel compelled to make redundancies.

The union has been arguing that in sectors such as aviation and aerospace, which have been mostly severely affected by Covid-19 but where demand is eventually expected to return to pre-pandemic levels in the near future, that the JRS scheme should be extended.

Measures sought by the union and employers also include the introduction of national insurance and income tax holidays for workers who are working at 50 per cent reduced hours, so providing a realistic financial alternative to job losses and retaining vital skills across the industry.

Unite regional officer Matt Allen said, “The announcement of the redundancies will come as a bitter blow to a highly skilled and dedicated workforce.

“Unite is urging GKN to work with it and to leave no stone unturned in examining all options to avoid job losses and this must include the option of short-time working,” he added.

“This announcement is far from an isolated case. It is clear the government needs to step in and bring in short-time working support to the UK’s world class aerospace sector to assist it through the current crisis.

“Short-time working schemes are being used in Germany and France to save jobs, skills and their industries,” Allen went on to say.

“A failure to act would be simply unforgivable, as it will result in thousands of needless redundancies, damaging lives and impacting on the local and national economy.”

Unite’s has launched a campaign to protect aerospace jobs including a comprehensive plan to secure the long term future of the UK aerospace industry it is based around three clear aims for the sector: Survive, Rebuild and Recover.

By Barckley Sumner

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