Britain’s largest union, Unite warned that a ‘cliff edge’ Brexit was becoming a ‘cold hard reality’ that was getting closer by the day as it urged the government to end Brexit uncertainty after the publication of Airbus’ latest risk assessment on the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. 

Warning that Theresa May was putting party interests ahead of the interests of manufacturing communities with her Brexit red lines, Unite urged the government to take Airbus’ warnings on jobs and an investment strike amid Brexit uncertainty, seriously. 

Unite which is the UK’s main union representing aerospace workers is calling on UK government ministers to safeguard investment and hundreds of thousands of aerospace manufacturing jobs by securing frictionless trade and regulatory framework agreements covering the manufacture and design of aircraft, aerospace components and engines. 

Frictionless trade is vital to Airbus and the UK wider manufacturing sector with components crossing borders multiple times on a daily basis. Regulatory agreements between the European Aviation Safety Agency and the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority and other regulatory bodies are also needed to ensure that planes manufactured with UK made content can be licensed for use. 

Commenting Unite assistant general secretary with responsibility for aerospace Steve Turner said: “The realities of a ‘cliff edge’ Brexit and its impact on jobs in manufacturing communities across the four nations of the UK are becoming closer by day. 

“Airbus supports 110,000 jobs in the UK. Its stark warnings of the uncertainty facing the aerospace industry cannot be dismissed by ministers and ‘hard Brexiteers’. It would be a betrayal of Airbus workers, their families and the tens of thousands workers in the wider supply chain if the government failed to secure frictionless trade and access to the customs union and single market.

“Theresa May and her government need to provide Brexit certainty if the UK is to remain at the cutting edge of innovation and a world leader in aerospace.

“People voted to leave the European Union, but didn’t back leave to lose their jobs and see their livelihoods smashed on the cliff face of a ‘hard Brexit’. 

“Theresa May needs to ask herself whether she is willing to lay waste to vibrant manufacturing communities on the altar of Conservative party interests and Tory infighting.

“If the answer is no, then the government needs to provide certainty over the UK’s relationship with the European Union to unlock investment by securing frictionless trade and a regulatory framework agreement for the aerospace industry as a matter of urgency.

“Workers will be increasingly worried about their jobs and their futures. Unite will continue to defend their interests and their livelihoods. We will be in close dialogue with Airbus and continue to put pressure on the government to secure jobs and the future of the UK aerospace industry.


For further information please contact the Unite press office on 020 3371 2065 or Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869. 

Twitter: @unitetheunion 
Facebook: unitetheunion1 

Notes to editors        

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.