A short time working agreement has been signed at a major aerospace components factory in the North West, reducing the number of proposed job losses.

Short time working deal

Members of Unite, employed at BWT Senior Aerospace in Macclesfield, have agreed to a four day working week with pay also being reduced on a pro-rata basis from 2 November until June 2021.

The agreement will be reviewed on a fortnightly basis and if demand increases then full time working will be re-introduced at an earlier date.

Jobs saved

The short time agreement has resulted in saving at least 42 jobs at the company which makes lightweight ducting for aircraft. Initial blue collar redundancies will now be reduced from 152 to a maximum of 110 out of a bargaining unit of over 300.

The job losses are a result of the company, like the rest of the aerospace sector being heavily affected by the severe downturn in aviation and the lack of government support.

SOS Jobs campaign 

The announcement of the short time working agreement is significant as it comes on the eve of Unite launching its SOS for Jobs campaign tomorrow (Wednesday 9 September).

Workers from across manufacturing will stage a demonstration and photo opportunity with MPs at Westminster to highlight the lack of support the UK is providing to industries affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

European support 

The government’s lack of sector specific support is at odds with other European countries such as France, Germany, Spain and Italy which are all providing long-term support to their industrial sectors that have been affected by the pandemic.

Unite is arguing that government support should include various measures including the extension of the job retention support, government support with tax break incentives to companies that preserve jobs by introducing short time working and investment in major shovel-ready projects.

Bittersweet victory

Unite regional officer Allan Small said: “This is a bittersweet victory.

“Our members have shown exceptional selflessness to agree to a substantial cut in wages, in order to preserve jobs.

“However, even this sacrifice is not sufficient to prevent heavy job losses.

“This is a result of the government’s failure to provide sector wide support for the aerospace sector. If the government was prepared to offer further support even more jobs could be saved.

“The agreement at BWT Senior Aerospace demonstrates that members and employers are prepared to play their part in preserving employment during the pandemic; it is time the government also steps up to the plate.

“Unite remains committed to doing everything possible to reduce job losses at BWT Senior Aerospace and if the compulsory redundancies go ahead it will ensure that all affected members are treated fairly.”

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.