‘Knee jerk’ threat to 399 jobs

Airline seat manufacturer told to rescind plan

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The decision to axe 399 workers at Safran Seats UK, which makes commercial airline seats, has been branded as ‘knee jerk’ as bosses should have continued to apply for the government’s coronavirus job retention scheme (JRS).

Unite is angry that more than 200 jobs are under threat at Camberley, Surrey, which the French-owned company intends to close. There are a further 187 proposed redundancies at Cwmbran in south Wales out of a workforce of about 1,250. The company has two other sites at Brackley, Northamptonshire and Braintree, Essex.

Safran S.A. is a French multinational aircraft engine, rocket engine, aerospace-component and defence company. It employs over 95,000 people and generated 24.64bn euros in sales in 2019.

“Unite is extremely concerned by Safran Seats UK’s decision to announce the redundancy threat to 399 highly skilled workers, totalling 25 per cent of its workforce across its four UK sites,” commented Unite national officer for aerospace Rhys McCarthy.

“The government’ job retention scheme, now extended until the end of June, that trade unions, including Unite, lobbied for was put in place to avoid this kind of knee jerk reaction.

“It is appalling that the company has not used this scheme to its full extent to buy time to look at alternatives to this massive jobs’ cull. It has applied for the JRS and should have continued to go down that route, instead of opting for immediate widespread redundancies as the first option,” McCarthy continued.

‘Not surprised’

He added, “Unite is, unfortunately, not surprised by Safran’s behaviour as we have an outgoing human rights dispute with the company and a complaint lodged with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) regarding Safran’s anti-trade union behaviour at its Cwmbran site in breach of a legally binding global agreement which the company signed up to.

“Unite will raise with Safran executives at the highest level the urgent need to rescind this decision and safeguard the employees’ jobs by taking up the government’s JRS.

“This is potentially another blow to the UK aviation and aerospace industries which needs government industry-specific support, as promised, to see the sectors through the pandemic,” McCarthy concluded.

By Shaun Noble @ShaunSearsNoble

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