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Aviation union demands government intervention to protect jobs

Aviation workers’ union GMB is urging ministers to provide sector specific support to counteract the damaging effects of Covid-19 on the sector.

Government must commit to supporting the sector with an economic package that includes an extension of furlough that helps both airports and the wider supply chain to survive without further redundancies.

The GMB Congress passed a motion calling for the government to recognise the impact the collapse of the aviation sector has had on the economy across London and the south-east.

The GMB London branch’s ‘Save Our Airports’ campaign demands a bespoke financial package to support aviation and key airports such as Heathrow to protect jobs.

It called for the government to:

  • Recognise the vital role aviation workers continue to play in ensuring food and medical supplies still enter the country.
  • Extend the 80% furlough scheme for 12 months for workers in the aviation industry but with the possibility to ‘taper’ where necessary.
  • Ensure that any state aid comes with guarantees to protect jobs before shareholders and with environmental safeguards to create a greener industry.
  • State aid discussions should not take place behind closed doors. Trade unions must be involved in those negotiations and powerful airline companies should not be at the front of the queue (the supply chain and regional airports are just as important).
  • Stop putting further restrictions on air travel and publicly support the air and tourism sector
  • Ensure that all trade unions are part of any sector recovery talks to ensure that front line transport workers’ voices are brought to the fore.

GMB London region senior officer Gary Pearce said: “GMB continues to fight for jobs in the aviation sector and supply chain, working with employers we have managed to negotiate alternatives to job losses. But the pandemic has had a disastrous financial impact on airports and the companies that depend on air travel and transportation. These employers cannot continue without help from the government, the sector is on its knees.

“We can all expect that the UK will eventually arrive at a pre-pandemic normal, so it is vital that those employed in the aviation sector and supply chain are ready and waiting with the skills and experience required to get the UK flying again. A sector-specific support package made available now can ensure this materialises.”

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