Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Airbus set to devastate its UK workforce and axe 1,700 jobs

The European Aerospace giant Airbus as confirmed plans to axe more than 1,700 jobs in the UK at the firms Broughton in Flintshire and Filton, Bristol sites. amind a downturn in business caused by the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. 

In a shock announcement the company said it would be looking to cut around 15,000 jobs from its global workforce of about 134,000 as it tries to cut costs and reshape itself for a post-COVID world and marketplace. 

Airbus says that the jobs will go right across its UK operations including at its largest factories at Broughton in North Wales and Filton in Bristol. 1,116 UK manufacturing jobs will be lost alongside 611 office-based jobs as Airbus seeks to shrink its workforce by 15%.

The jobs are to go between now and the summer of 2021, with legal consultations taking place from today with the hope of being completed by the autumn this year. According to the company, in addition to the UK job losses, it expects 5,000 positions to be lost in France,  5,100 would go in Germany,  its Spanish workforce would be reduced by 900 positions in Spain and some 1,300 positions would go at Airbus’ other worldwide sites. 

While compulsory actions cannot be ruled out at this stage, Airbus promised it would work with unions to limit the impact of this plan by relying on voluntary departures, early retirement, and long term partial unemployment schemes where appropriate.

"Airbus is facing the gravest crisis this industry has ever experienced," said Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury. "The measures we have taken so far have enabled us to absorb the initial shock of this global pandemic. Now, we must ensure that we can sustain our enterprise and emerge from the crisis as a healthy, global aerospace leader, adjusting to the overwhelming challenges of our customers. To confront that reality, we must now adopt more far-reaching measures. "

Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury issued the following statement. 

The Unite union called today's announcement by Airbus ‘another act of industrial vandalism' against the country's under-attack aerospace sector.  Steve Tuner, the union's assistant general secretary said: "This is yet another act of industrial vandalism and a terrible insult to our incredible UK workforce who deserve so much better from our government.

Over the weeks of this crisis, this country's aerospace jobs have gone hand over fist yet not one word of support or act of assistance has been forthcoming from the government.  The UK government is watching from the sidelines while a national asset is destroyed."  But rather than offering any empathy, assistance or commiserations to its members affected by the news, the Labour party funding Unite was more interested in attacking the government about its slow response to the ongoing crisis. We asked one local Unite member in Bristol what help the union had offered this afternoon,  "Err none,  they've not even phoned us today." came the reply.

Job losses at Airbus had been expected for some time, despite it taking government money to furlough staff, it had been planning to streamline some operations even before the coronavirus became known about. However,  the size and scale of the job losses was a surprise to many and one commentator has even suggested the number of positions being axed in the UK is another indication of the current management's ambitions of freezing the UK out completely. The manufacturer has said it remains committed to the UK. 

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