Devolved authorities and unions issue joint demand for creation of a UK Aerospace Taskforce
Jackie Pollock Regional Secretary of Unite was signatory to a letter involving the leaders of the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland devolved authorities to Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, demanding for ‘urgent intervention’ by the UK Government to preserve highly-skilled jobs in the aerospace sector.
The Unite initiative has brought together both Executive office Ministers, Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill, Nicola Sturgeon and Mark Drakeford, and the leaders of the trade union in each respective region. The letter calls for the immediate establishment of a UK Aerospace Taskforce in order that government, business and trade unions collectively work together to support businesses, workers and communities.
In July, Unite commissioned a report by Acuity Analysis on the threat posed to Aerospace following a spate of redundancies in the sector in Northern Ireland.
The joint letter acknowledges that it is estimated that it will take three to five years for the sector to return to ‘pre-crisis levels’ and that urgent intervention by the UK Government is essential because the magnitude of intervention required is not within the power of the devolved institutions.
Jackie Pollock, Unite Regional Secretary in Ireland, added:
“Unite is delighted to bring together the Leaders of the Devolved Administrations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, in a joint initiative to safeguard jobs in the aerospace sector. Tens of thousands of highly-skilled jobs and those supported by the aerospace sector in the supply-chain are on the brink of being lost forever. We are only six weeks away from a cliff-edge to the government’s Coronavirus jobs retention scheme which raises the prospect of job-losses on a devastating scale.
“While Unite will push for every measure possible to be taken within the competence of the Northern Ireland Executive. It’s clear that the powers to introduce the measures required to support the sector reside with the UK Government, which is why we are collectively demanding the Prime Minister to establish immediately a UK Aerospace Taskforce to coordinate support.
“In Northern Ireland, we have an unfolding crisis in the sector with already 1,800 job losses threatened and the prospect of more with the reduction in furlough supports. The threatened job losses to date will result in a £800m blow to the economy and £17.5 million reduction in household consumption. The Prime Minister must now respond positively to this initiative and ensure that every possible tool will be used alongside measures being enacted by the Devolved Administrations in order to preserve jobs and to sustain the aerospace sector throughout and beyond the Covid-19 crisis.”