Comments by work and pensions secretary Therese Coffey made in an interview with the Spectator magazine in which she suggests that cabin crew who lose their jobs could retrain as carers or nurses have been branded as `crass'  and suggest that the government has given up on UK aviation according to Unite, the country's leading aviation union.

Responding, Unite national officer for civil air transport Oliver Richardson said: “Therese Coffey’s comments are just crass. They are as insensitive as they are ill informed and only serve to show how out of touch government is.

 “Aviation workers throughout the UK are worried sick about their future and quite literally don't know if they'll have a job next week. Tens of thousands of aviation workers have already lost their jobs. Her focus as minister of work should be on saving as many jobs as possible, not throwing in the towel on a vitally important sector of the economy.

"The real problem is that the aviation industry is still waiting for the support package promised by the chancellor seven months ago. It is this delay and the failure to echo the support that other countries have provided for their aviation sectors that is seeing UK jobs go at an alarming rate.

"If the minister really wants to help aviation workers she should speak to her colleague the chancellor and get him to deliver the financial support he promised way back in March."

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.