Union warns government ‘clock is ticking’ for aviation sector

Unite has warned the government “the clock is at five to midnight” on the aviation industry as it continues to delay a decision on whether to provide the sector with tailored support.

The union, which represents over 65,000 workers in aviation, launched a campaign and accompanying film to call on MPs to back its call for a new deal for the sector.

It wants a deal in line with those in other countries such as the US, Germany, Holland, France, Italy, Spain, Singapore and Australia, which have all pumped billions or hundreds of millions into their aviation industries.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said aviation would receive a ‘bespoke package’ on March 17, and Unite has since put together a blueprint for how the sector to meet new demands in the post-Covid world.

UK Aviation is vital from Unite the union on Vimeo.

The campaign and film points out that more than 1.2 million UK jobs are related to aviation, a sector which Unite says contributes £22 million to GDP.

The video says that “as an island nation, aviation is crucial for us to trade, work and travel” and the union said that without government support, the entire sector, from air traffic control to the viability of some airports, are at risk.

Unite also pointed to at least 28,000 potential job cuts in the sector and associated industries, including British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Rolls Royce.

Assistant general secretary Diana Holland said: “The government has the future of the aviation sector in its hands. The clock is at five to midnight. We cannot have further delay – we urgently need that programme of support promised two months ago to emerge in order to stabilise this very vulnerable sector and avert massive job losses.

“The impact of Covid-19 throughout aviation has been devastating and it is recognised worldwide that it requires a strategic package of government support as it rebuilds and as confidence is restored.

“Aviation is central to our economy and in linking people together, connecting regions connectivity and providing jobs. A package to support these is also a real opportunity to green the industry.

“Governments in Europe and globally have provided financial support for their aviation sectors because they recognise it is vital to an economy, and the UK government needs to do the same.”

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