Wilson James announce plans for 54 redundancies among Belfast international airport security staff

Unite blasts move since three-quarters of workforce facing jobs threat could easily remain on furlough

George Brash, Unite Regional Officer

Aviation rescue strategy to safeguard future of both Belfast airports needed from Stormont

George Brash, Unite Regional Officer for security workers employed by Wilson James at Belfast International Airport blasted management plans for 54 redundancies – many of which were entirely unnecessary.

“Unite has received a HR1 notification from Wilson James for proposals to make redundant 54 workers at Belfast International Airport. This heartless decision by bosses is entirely unnecessary and avoidable. Three quarters of this workforce are currently furloughed under the government’s Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme and there is absolutely no need to push them onto dole queues and their families onto bread lines in the midst of a pandemic.

“The workers affected have been left reeling as they had rightfully assumed that their status would be protected through the furlough scheme until the airport recovered its footfall.

“This announcement is only the latest in a string of job-losses at Belfast International and City airports. As Unite has repeatedly highlighted, there is now a serious threat hanging over the future of both airports as vital security workers, baggage handlers, check-in staff, cabin crew and pilots have been laid off.

“Again we are left asking what exactly the politicians in Stormont are doing to safeguard the aviation sector and the future of these critical regional transportation hubs. Once again we call on Stormont political leaders to bring forward an Aviation Rescue strategy – Northern Ireland and these workers deserve better than continued inaction.

“In response to this announcement, Unite will continue to engage with management at Wilson James to attempt to reduce job losses and to obtain the best possible outcome for our members. We are doing everything we can – but we can’t save this industry alone”, Mr Brash concluded.

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