Stansted jobs ‘hanging by a thread’, union warns

PUBLISHED: 00:17 29 May 2020

Announcements on job cuts at Stansted are

Announcements on job cuts at Stansted are "almost imminent" Unite has warned Picture: STANSTED AIRPORT

Stansted airport

Thousands of airport jobs in East Anglia could be swept away unless the government takes urgent action, a union has warned.

A busy Stansted Airport  during the period before the devastating coronavirus lockdown  Picture: STANSTED AIRPORTA busy Stansted Airport during the period before the devastating coronavirus lockdown Picture: STANSTED AIRPORT

Unite has commissioned new research which it says shows the critical role Stansted airport plays in the regional economy. It is warning that it expects announcements on job cuts “almost imminently”.

The Essex airport is the biggest single site employer in eastern England employing around 1,765 people directly, and more than 10,200 working for nearly 200 companies based at the site.

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But without urgent action by central government to stabilise the aviation sector, airport jobs including crew, ground staff, engineers and associated retail, transport and other roles, will be swept away, Unite warned.

It has produced a blueprint of how the government should intervene across the entire aviation sector including airlines and airports to protect the jobs and conditions of workers.

It is calling for loans with strict strings attached on executive pay, corporate governance and environmental standards to radically improve the industry’s carbon footprint.

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Unite regional officer Mark Barter said: “Airports are hives of economic activity. Stansted is the biggest single site employer in Eastern England. It supports the jobs and livelihoods of thousands, from air crew to taxi drivers to shop staff.

“If these jobs go then a huge economic hole will open up right across Eastern England and it could take decades to recover.

“Overnight, airports were effectively shutdown by the government to protect the public’s health but we are now pleading with ministers to protect our area’s long-term economic security.

“We are not asking for a giveaway but for loans that will be repaid when the sector is back on its feet, and we have support for this from across the political spectrum.

“But the clock is ticking. It is more than two months since the chancellor promised that a support package would be forthcoming for aviation but he has yet to deliver. The communities that rely on Stansted for jobs and their prosperity cannot wait much longer.”

Given that flight schedules were due to resume in some capacity next month and with business still in the dark about funding for furloughed workers, the union said it was expecting announcement on jobs cuts “almost imminently”, he said.

“It’s absolutely vital that the government steps up quickly to give assurances to the aviation industry in order to avert an economic and social disaster for our region,” he added.

Unite called on everyone whose work is connected to the airport or who is concerned about its future to email their MP and call for support for the airport and the UK’s aviation sector.

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