Unite, the UK’s principal aviation union, has described the announcement that Luton Airport is proposing to make 250 of its workforce redundant as yet another ‘hammer blow’ for the crisis-hit sector.

Workers at risk

Almost one third (29 per cent) of the airport's directly employed workforce faces redundancies which will primarily affect security guards but with office based staff and other core roles at the airport also under threat. 

Unite is also dealing with smaller scale redundancies among several of the contractors operating at Luton Airport.

Blow to Luton's economy

In May, Unite warned that a downturn in work at the airport would seriously harm the economies of Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire.

The airport is central to the region's economy.  Over 27,000 jobs are sustained by the airport, including 9,400 direct jobs and 7,700 indirect jobs. Workers directly employed at the airport account for 10 percent of employment in the borough of Luton. In total, 77 percent of the airport's employees in the counties of Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire.

Hammer blow to workers

Unite regional officer Jeff Hodge said: “These job losses are yet another hammer blow to Luton and the surrounding area.

“With the government looking at air bridges and the job retention scheme (JRS) continuing until October, this decision is simply premature.  Any decision on job losses can and should be delayed until a clearer picture is available.

“But we are also calling on the government to play its part.  Job losses in the aviation sector are growing directly as a result of the government’s failure to provide a sector-specific support package for the industry.

"The government first promised support way back in March, so why are the industry and workers still waiting?

“Aviation will return to good health but it will take time, which is why JRS should be extended and specific support should be provided to preserve the employment of airport and airline staff.

“The reality is that without urgent and decisive action from the government, more aviation jobs will go.”

Unite blueprint

Unite has produced a blueprint for government intervention across the entire aviation sector. Loans to businesses would come with strict strings attached regarding executive pay, corporate governance and would require stringent environmental standards to be adopted to radically reduce the industry’s carbon footprint.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

During the coronavirus crisis Unite is working to keep workers and the public safe, to defend jobs and to protect incomes.

For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.

Email: barckley.sumner@unitetheunion.org

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