Thompsons Aero-seating announces a further 180 job losses due to Covid downturn: Stormont Executive must act to defend Aerospace jobs and skills

Kieran Ellison Unite Regional Officer

Union to engage with its membership at Craigavon and Banbridge sites on next steps in response to this opportunist attack on workers’ jobs

Unite challenges need for job losses as Chinese state-owned AVIC, which owns Thompson Aero-seating, reports continuing profits

Kieran Ellison, Regional Officer for Unite confirmed his union had been informed of approximately 180 redundancies at Thompson’s Aero-seating and would be engaging with his union’s membership on their response.

“Today’s announcement of 180 jobs – or approximately one-quarter of the workforce – will come as grim news to our members who work in Thompson’s Aero-seating in Craigavon and Banbridge. We will be engaging our members on our response to what is an entirely unnecessary attack on Northern Ireland workers and skills base. 

“Thompson’s Aero-seating is owned by Chinese state-owned aerospace and defence company AVIC. This is not a corporation which needs to make these redundancies to achieve profitability – in the midst of an unprecedented Covid downturn, AVIC has just reported £1.72 billion in profits in 2020. 

“The latest forecasts for aviation confirm that air travel will bounce back more rapidly than previously expected. The latest figures from the International Air Transport Association suggest air passenger numbers will be back to 52 percent this year rising to 88 percent in 2022 and will surpass pre-Covid levels by 5 percent in 2023”, Mr Ellison said. 

Unite Regional Secretary Jackie Pollock challenged the Stormont Executive on its failure to bring forward specific measures to support the Aerospace sector.

“Today’s announcement is the latest confirmation that the Stormont Executive is completely failing the Aerospacesector and its workforce. Instead of bringing forward flashy new economic strategies replete with every buzzword going about the ambitions for future growth – we need action now. 

We don’t need vision statements or words recognising the vital importance of Aerospace – we need action. Action to protect jobs and vital skills during an exceptional downturn. Across Europe, governments have intervened to safeguard their aviation and aerospace sectors – meanwhile London and Belfast have effectively sat on their hands while jobs are slashed. Unite has been calling for a suite of actions to cushion Northern Ireland Aviation and Aerospace industries since the beginning of this pandemic but Stormont has stood idly by.

“The Economy Minister must end the complacency. Business as usual is not working. It’s not working for workers and it is not going to safeguard higher value-added production skills such as those at Thompsons Aero-seating”, Mr Pollock concluded.

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