'Worried and fearful'

London City Airport workers left ‘worried and fearful' over job losses

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Workers employed at London City Airport have been left ‘worried and fearful’ for their futures after their employer announced proposals to make 239 workers redundant, 35 per cent of the airport’s total workforce.

Workers first found out about the job losses through reports in the media and have only been supplied with very limited information by the airport.

The job losses announcement will come as a severe blow to the local community. City Airport is in Newham, one of the poorest boroughs in London and many of the workforce are from the local area.

Unlike the vast majority of airports, City Airport does not recognise Unite, the UK’s leading aviation union, meaning that information on the redundancies has not been shared with the union. Although the union has not been provided with the exact details of the proposed job losses it is understood that a large number of security officers will be made redundant.

Despite this, Unite will be ensuring that its large membership, which is predominantly lowly paid, is properly represented and is not discriminated against during the redundancy process.

Unite regional officer Mercedes Sanchez said, “Unite’s members have been left worried and fearful for their future after City Airport announced job losses.

“If City Airport is sincere about helping the predominantly low paid staff through this difficult time then they will formally recognise Unite so the union can properly represent all members and help to examine all options to save as many jobs as possible,” she added.

“Unite is now in the process of understanding the airport’s exact proposals and will ensure that our members are properly and fairly treated throughout this traumatic time.

“These latest job losses underline why it is absolutely essential that the government brings forward a sector specific support package for aviation, including a modified job retention scheme, in order to prevent these unnecessary job losses from occurring and to protect the communities where aviation workers are based,” Sanchez went on to say.

Unite is currently in the process of obtaining recognition but the airport has resisted this consistently.

Together with the TUC and all aviation unions, Unite is calling for the government to adopt the economic and fiscal measures needed to support the sector. This includes: the extension of, and modifications to, the coronavirus job retention scheme to protect employment in the aviation sector; suspension of air passenger duty; public service obligation routes to ensure regional connectivity; business rate relief for airports (as in Scotland and Northern Ireland); and extending the period of repayment of loans to aviation companies beyond the current two year maximum.

The full list of measures can be found in Unite’s urgent summer update to its ‘Flying into the Future’ blueprint, which was first published in May in response to the coronavirus crisis. 

By Barckley Sumner

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