Described by trade union Unite as ‘an act of industrial vandalism’, Airbus says the bulk of the 1,730 UK job cuts will fall at its wing-making plant in Broughton. Tony McDonough reports
Planemaker Airbus has confirmed that the bulk of the 1,730 jobs to be slashed from its UK workforce will be at Broughton in Deeside.
In a move described as “gut-wrenching” by one local politician, Airbus is to cut 1,435 jobs out of a total workforce of 6,080 at the wing-making plant at Broughton, where many people from the Liverpool city region are employed.
A further 295 jobs will go at another wing-making factory in Filton, Bristol. Previously, the company said the jobs would go by summer 2021. Airbus hopes the majority will come via voluntary redundancies or staff retiring early but has not ruled out compulsory losses.
On Tuesday, Airbus said it was cutting 15,000 jobs across its global workforce as it grappled with the fallout from the coronavirus crisis which has hit the aviation industry particularly hard. chief executive Guillaume Faury said the company was facing “the gravest crisis this industry has ever experienced”.
It is also cutting 5,000 jobs in France, 5,100 in Germany, 900 in Spain and 1,300 from other sites worldwide. Airbus says commercial activity has plummeted by almost 40% in the last few months.
In a statement on Thursday, the company said: “Airbus confirms it has opened a national dialogue with social partners in the UK in the frame of its COVID-19 adaptation plan. As part of these discussions, Airbus has confirmed the need to adjust its workforce in the UK by approximately 1,700 positions, with the following split: Broughton 1,435 and Filton 295.
“These figures include integrated corporate functions which support all divisions in the UK. This split reflects the significant impact the COVID crisis has had on the UK’s commercial-aircraft manufacturing activities which are concentrated in Broughton.
“Airbus will continue to meet regularly with its trade union partners in the UK in order to identify solutions that will help us implement this adaptation while minimising the social impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the company.”
The Unite union described the decision as “another act of industrial vandalism” against the UK aerospace sector. It urged Airbus to “hold its nerve” and called on the UK Government to step in an intervene to save the jobs.
Peter Hughes, Unite Wales regional secretary, said: “Unite has been calling for the UK Government to put a plan of support in place for the aerospace sector for months. This support has been provided by France and Germany, will the UK Government now step up to the plate and do everything required to support UK aviation jobs?
“We are calling upon Airbus to hold their nerve and step back from implementing their plan. Everything must be done to engage with Government to see if the necessary support can be provided to delay this decision until this crisis abates.
“Unite will not accept any proposal that involves compulsory redundancy for our members. The workforce at Broughton is world class, and have shown time and again how they are able to adapt. Unite is open to working constructively with Airbus to look at all options available in order to maintain the maximum number of jobs at Broughton.”