Unite Scotland has today (June 14) welcomed the news that up to 35 cabin crew jobs at risk of redundancy across Scottish airports have now been saved thanks to innovative training courses supported by the Scottish Government.
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused widespread disruption within the aviation industry with thousands of workers placed on furlough and thousands directly at risk of being made redundant. Last July, Unite launched a campaign to ‘Save Scotland’s Airports’ following a Fraser of Allander report conducted on behalf of Unite, which estimated 2,330 direct and indirect job losses in civil aviation with an overall economic loss of around £140m to the Scottish economy after accounting for knock-on effects.
In response to these threats, Unite worked with the Scottish Government and Scottish Union Learning to create a fund that would allow employees to upskill and protect their current job roles. As a result of securing funding many companies including Loganair signed no compulsory redundancy agreements with Unite giving many workers job security in these uncertain times.
Loganair cabin crew workers through Unite negotiated with the airline to use the Covid Response Fund to mitigate compulsory redundancies and provide cabin crew with a wide range of upskilling opportunities. The content of thirteen courses was tailored to fit in with the role of cabin crew, including safety information being translated into British Sign Language as well as learning the basics that could be transferred into other situations outside of the job. Other courses include Autism Awareness, Spanish and Employability Skills, with all courses provided by City of Glasgow College.
Unite industrial officer Pat McIlvogue said, “The news that 35 jobs in Loganair have been saved through our joint working is very welcome news for cabin crew workers. Aviation was one of the first industries to have been hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, and it will be one of the last to recover so innovative initiatives like up-skilling workers through learning sign language and autism awareness to prepare for the upturn is vital. Unite has repeatedly urged the Scottish Government and companies like Loganair to work together in order to save jobs and this has been an excellent example of joint working.”
Loganair’s Chief Operations Officer Maurice Boyle added, “The Covid-19 pandemic has been a hugely challenging time for our industry, yet we’re heartened that we have been able to safeguard jobs within Loganair through excellent co-operation with our recognised unions and employee groups.
“The initiatives with Unite to up-skill Loganair cabin crew members through training with City of Glasgow College on ‘life skills’ including sign language and autism awareness will genuinely bring significant benefits to the individuals, to our customers and to Loganair across the months and years ahead as we rebuild and recover from the pandemic.”
Meanwhile, commenting on the work done with Unite and Loganair, City of Glasgow College principal Paul Little said, “City of Glasgow College, through its Trade Union Education Centre, has been able to very quickly respond to the needs of Unite the Union and the workforce within Loganair and the aviation industry. We are proud that we successfully arranged 13 separate courses, including ICT, Employability Skills, Customer services, and Modern Languages, within one week of notification of demand.
“The agility of colleges means we can rapidly provide short courses to reskill and upskill workers during this pandemic, benefitting both individuals and businesses, and help deliver the socio-economic revival Scotland needs,” he added. “As a college, we remain committed to working with the trade unions and industry to support the changing nature of work and the skills development of the Scottish workforce.”
By Andrew Brady