Responding to the announcement today (October 7) that East Midland’s airport is intending to make around 70 job cuts, Unite, the principal aviation union, has said it is a direct consequence of the government’s ongoing failure to provide sector specific support to the aviation industry.

The job losses will impact on directly employed workers at the airport including security officers, customer service staff and car park attendants.

Unite will immediately begin negotiating with East Midlands airport and will seek to mitigate job losses, pressing the company to utilise the government’s new job support scheme to save jobs and attempt to ensure that redundancies are voluntary rather than compulsory.

Unite regional officer Kevin Hepworth said: “Unite will do everything it can to reduce job losses at East Midlands airport and seek to ensure that any eventual redundancies are voluntary and not compulsory in nature.

“These job losses are an inevitable consequence of the government’s failure to provide sector specific support to the aviation industry, the sector which has been most heavily affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Once Covid-19 is under control, confidence will return to the industry and flights will increase. It is a total failure of government to not be assisting the industry and its workforce through this crisis in order to ensure it can quickly recover when the virus abates.

“The chancellor first promised sector support in March. An aviation recovery plan was promised last month. Nothing has materialised and job losses are increasing by the day.”

Exactly a month ago the government promised to launch an aviation recovery programme this autumn but nothing has materialised and no specific assistance has been provided to the sector.

Together with the TUC and all aviation unions, Unite is calling for the government to undertake the economic and fiscal measures needed to support the sector, including:

• The extension of, and modifications to, the coronavirus job retention scheme to protect employment in the aviation sector 

• Suspension of air passenger duty

• Public service obligation routes to ensure regional connectivity 

• Business rate relief for airports (as in Scotland and Northern Ireland) 

• Extending the period of repayment of loans to aviation companies beyond the current two year maximum.

The full list of measures can be found in Unite’s urgent summer update to its ‘Flying into the Future’ blueprint, which was first published in May in response to the coronavirus crisis. 

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 enquires ONLY contact Unite communications officer Ryan Fletcher on 07849 090215.

Email: ryan.fletcher@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.