THE UNITE and GMB trade unions have appealed to the government to announce a bespoke financial package to save the beleaguered aviation industry.
The two unions’ representing Swissport workers, described the company’s decision to cut at least 4,556 jobs as ‘devastating news’.
Swissport is the country’s largest ground handler; handling flights coming into nearly every regional airport across the UK. It provides ground handling services to many major airlines, including ticketing and baggage handling.
Oliver Richardson, Unite national officer, said: ‘We can’t wait any longer, the UK government needs to urgently intervene with a bespoke financial package and an extension of the 80 per cent furlough scheme for the aviation industry.
‘Speed is of the essence if the government is to save thousands of aviation jobs and livelihoods. It’s not too late.’
Nadine Houghton GMB National Officer said: ‘This is devastating news. At least 4,000 workers, and possibly many more, will lose jobs which are essential to regional economies.
‘With Swissport now considering job cuts on this scale we have deep concerns about the viability of many of our regional airports and the benefits for regional connectivity that they bring.’
- The GMB is also calling on the government to maintain its interventionist approach ‘to drive the UK economy forward’.
It has commented on reports that a ‘rescue deal for Tata Steel’ is set to be agreed with the government within days, helping preserve about 8,000 jobs.
Ross Murdoch, GMB National Officer, said: ‘GMB welcomes any government bespoke funding arrangement commitment that safeguards strategically important UK steel companies through this crisis and with a long-term view to drive the industry forward.
‘GMB has been in regular dialogue with BEIS (Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy) regarding the steel industry throughout the outbreak.
‘These talks have now moved from discussions around the Job Retention Scheme (JRS) to the next phase of stimulating demand and kick-starting the economy and how steel, as a foundation industry, needs to be at the forefront of this drive to recovery.
‘GMB backs the UK Steel Charter and Covid-19 Restart and Recovery demands, which call on the government to support construction, accelerate infrastructure investments and to support UK Steel employers in terms of electricity prices and business rates to make them more attractive for future low-carbon steel production.’
Hailing the Tory government, he continued: ‘Ministers have intervened in a way not seen during modern times to help keep the economy moving throughout this crisis.
‘As we move towards stimulating demand for the next phase, particularly with a looming Brexit crisis, GMB calls on the government to maintain the same approach to drive the UK economy forward.’
Dave Wiltshire, the Secretary of the All Trades Unions Alliance, commented: ‘The appeal by union leaders to the Tories to save airline and steel workers’ jobs is disgraceful. Trade unions were founded to defend and save jobs.
‘With capitalism on the edge of an economic and political precipice, the only way forwards is for the unions to sack their current leaders and bring forward new leaders prepared to call a general strike.
‘This must bring down the government and bring in a workers government that will nationalise the banks and the major industries, without paying a penny of compensation, as a part of a planned socialist economy.’