North East and Yorkshire’s aerospace industry at ‘five to midnight’ as government stays silent on support
- Thursday 2 July 2020
Unite, the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber’s (NEYH) leading union, is warning that the region’s world-beating aerospace industry is at ‘five to midnight’, staring at the loss of highly skilled jobs and millions in economic contribution unless the sector receives urgent support from the government.
The union is appealing to the people of the region to get behind its campaign to keep jobs and incomes in the community.
With a huge decline in new orders and maintenance work – a knock-on effect from the pandemic hit to the aviation sector – many jobs are at risk in the industry right across the region. More than 13,000 aerospace redundancies have already been announced in the UK.
Unite issued its jobs warning following the publication of a new report by economic experts Acuity Analysis, which details the challenges facing the NEYH and the entire UK aerospace sector. The analysis profiles the importance of the sector to the region’s economy and reveals:
The aerospace sector provides secure well paid jobs across the NEYH region, with 3,700 workers being employed in the sector.
There are 150 employers in the region split between 50 manufacturing companies and 100 companies specialising in the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) of aircraft.
Major aerospace employers in the region include BAE and Rolls Royce.
The sector is incredibly valuable for the region generating £224 million in gross value added per annum.
According to Unite, which has been battling for sector support since March, large-scale job losses would have a crippling effect on both the NEYH’s and the nation's economies: 5,000 aerospace jobs lost would see more than £2 billion wiped off the UK’s economic output.
Unite has been pressing the UK government to follow the lead of competitor nations such as France and Germany to establish an investment programme for the sector to survive, rebuild and recover. A central call from the union is for the government to extend the jobs retention scheme to prevent the premature loss of more jobs and skills while the sector works to build back.
Unite regional officer Suzanne Reid said: “Aerospace is a major contributor to the NEYH economy but the lack of action at Westminster means we now stand at five to midnight and could be looking at a very bleak future.
“Jobs are going by the day and our world-leading status is slipping away as other nations sense the competitive advantage in our government’s inaction.
“Without the support this sector is crying out for we will lose thousands of the highly skilled, secure jobs that we are told the UK needs and that the government wishes to encourage.
“It is a travesty that the government has not followed the lead of other countries including France and Germany to provide specific support for what is a world class industry. Worse still, the UK government's silence on support gives our competitors a business advantage.
“We are pleading with the government. Waste no more time. Be clear that the JRS will be extended to ensure the sector preserves skills and jobs. Commit to a package of support for the aerospace sector which would not only preserve jobs across the North East and Yorkshire but be the shot in the arm the national economy desperately needs.”
Unite is urging everyone who is employed directly in the aerospace industry or indirectly associated with it to contact their MP and ask them to lobby the government for support for the sector.
Suzanne Reid added: “If you work in the NEYH aerospace sector, know someone who does, or simply value quality jobs in our region please help us save this flagship industry that is so vital to our communities. Pick up the phone to your MP or drop them an email. Only by speaking up together can we win the future our workers absolutely deserve.”
For media enquires ONLY contact Unite communications officer Ryan Fletcher on 07849 090215.
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.
Notes to Editors:
Workers and others looking to lobby their MPs in support of the sector can do so via this link.
Unite’s plan for the industry is based around three clear aims for the sector: Survive, Rebuild and Recover. The full details can be read in the report but in summary embrace:
Sector support similar in scope and ambition to that unveiled by the French and Germany governments. Continuation of the government’s job retention scheme (JRS) plus a shorter working week scheme, which has been effective in saving Germany jobs.
A government-supported aircraft replacement scheme to help the aviation sector dramatically reduce its carbon footprint. Production and parts must come from UK
Research and Development increased and the current 50/50 ratio between government and companies changed to 80/20 to bring us in line with those of France and Germany.
Continued support for aerospace apprenticeships to close the growing skills gap across an ageing workforce.