Unite has today (Thursday June 25) warned that the West Midlands faces the loss of several hundred highly skilled, well paid jobs as a result of Collins Aerospace announcing redundancies.
The union says that with the government’s furlough programme continuing in some form until October, and with the union fighting for a sector support package, the move to lay-offs is premature.
“The announcement of the job losses at Collins Aerospace is a bitter blow to the West Midlands which simply can’t afford to lose this type of well paid, highly skilled job,” commented Unite regional co-ordinating officer Andy Taylor.
“But this announcement is premature. With the JRS continuing until October, Collins should reassess its decision until support for the sector from the government is agreed,” he added.
The company, which is part of Raytheon Technologies, produces high tech aerospace systems, has announced 300 potential redundancies at its sites in Wolverhampton, Birmingham Marston Green and Banbury in Oxfordshire.
For months, Unite has been calling on the government to bring forward a sector support package for aerospace, which has been heavily affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, warning that with every day going by without the type of government support seen in competitor nations like France and Germany, the industry in the UK will shrink in employment and prestige.
“This is yet another example of why the entire aerospace industry needs a specific sectorial package from the government in order to protect employment skills in a sector where the UK is a world leader,” said Taylor.
In fact Unite has a series of calls designed to help UK aerospace industry, the second biggest in the world, to survive, rebuild and recover. These include the government introduction of a support strategy – in line with those already announced in France and Germany; the creation of an aircraft replacement scheme to reduce the UK’s carbon footprint; long-term commitment to the new Tempest fighter aircraft; support for diversification through ‘risk and reward’ funding; adaption of the government’s job retention scheme to support the sector’s recovery; and support for apprenticeships in the sector to keep skills.
Unite is organised at the sites in Wolverhampton and Birmingham and will be entering into negotiations with Collins Aerospace to reduce the number of redundancies and to remove the threat of compulsory job losses.
“Unite will, of course, be working tirelessly to convince the company to think again, and we certainly will not accept compulsory job losses,” concluded Taylor.
By Barckley Sumner