‘Closures Being Cynically Fast-Tracked’ Says Unite!

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Unite has called strike action at Heathrow Airport Ltd following an 85% strike vote. Picture shows BA Unite members voting unanimously to strike against the airline’s ‘fire and rehire’ pay and conditions cuts programme on August 20th, but the union leadership refused to call the strike

THE CLOSURE of the Alexander Dennis (ADL) plant in Guildford this week after 125 years of vehicle building with the loss of 200 jobs was ‘cynically fast-tracked’ using the global pandemic as an excuse says Unite.

The union said the Guildford closure was ‘extra shameful’ as there were already 150 chassis earmarked for the Surrey operation – enough for at least five months of production – which will now be diverted to an outsourced company in the UK.
Unite said the closure of the Guildford operation by ADL, the UK’s largest bus and coach builder, was an example of a large corporate company using ‘the cloak of Covid-19’ to axe highly skilled jobs – and outsource work to Turkey.
In the summer, ADL announced that over 650 jobs were under threat at Guildford, Falkirk in Scotland and Scarborough in north Yorkshire which had been approved by parent company, the NFI Group.
Consultations continue at Falkirk. However, the consultation at Scarborough has ended with 90 employees from a workforce of about 600 being made redundant.
Unite national officer for automotive industries Steve Bush said: ‘The abrupt closure of the ADL Guildford site yesterday (Thursday 5 November) was a brutal act that gave long-standing colleagues hardly any time to say “goodbye”.
‘As Guildford was producing seven chassis a week, there was at least five months of work in the pipeline that could have ensured employment for the workforce, while we explored how the chancellor Rishi Sunak’s extension of the furlough scheme to the end of March 2021 could have been utilised to safeguard our members’ jobs.
‘It is clear that ADL bosses were planning this so-called restructuring of their operations before the pandemic struck earlier in the year.
‘The company has been using Covid-19 as a cloak to justify this jobs’ cull and shown a complete disregard for either its workers or the national interest.’
Meanwhile, at Heathrow Unite has informed its members of their vote for industrial action:
‘To all Unite members,
‘Our ballots for industrial action closed today. There was a delay in receiving the notices from Civica. All notices have now been received.
‘The company will be notified of the relevant results.
‘The overwhelming number of members have voted yes. However, not every area met the thresholds set out by law.
‘The areas that have fulfilled the legal requirements are: Fire Service, Engineering and Baggage, Campus Security, Landside, Airside and CTO.
‘We now have clear mandates to take industrial action. We will keep you updated on the next steps.
‘Thank you for your continued support.
‘Unite Negotiating Committee’

  • Nadine Houghton, the GMB National Officer stated yesterday that ‘For many – such as more than 3,000 Swissport workers who lost their jobs over the weekend – the furloughing announcement may have come too late.

‘We call on all employers to delay redundancy notices, furlough the staff, save their Christmases and hopefully, as things improve, their jobs.’