Aviation unions warn Scottish government: “Doing nothing is not an option” in fight for jobs

Aviation unions have warned the Scottish government that “doing nothing is not an option” as thousands of airport jobs are threatened by redundancy and cuts with the end of the furlough scheme.

Joint trade union representatives will meet with the Scottish government cabinet secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity this afternoon, where they will table proposals for defending jobs and the future of Scotland’s aviation sector.

It comes just days before the UK government’s Job Retention Scheme (JRS) is replaced by the Job Support Scheme (JSS), which according to research commissioned by Unite Scotland, could impact over 2,300 direct and indirect jobs dependent on aviation with a loss of £140 million to the Scottish economy.

Cabinet secretary, Michael Matheson MSP, told parliament last month the Scottish government was “committed to exploring immediate support measures for the (aviation) industry”.

GMB Scotland Organiser, Bob Deavy, said: “The COVID-19 crisis has exposed the long-standing need for Scotland to have a proper jobs plan, something we’ve never had since devolution, and aviation has a huge part to play in that.

“The Scottish government has said the UK government must do more, it is right, but it also means it must drop its own ambiguities that could help the sector recover post-COVID, like support for a Heathrow third runway and the jobs and connectivity boost this would give Scotland.

“Our members need to know the Scottish government is on their side in the immediate fight for jobs but also in the fight for the future of a sustainable aviation sector – it can’t be left to the UK government alone to decide their fate and we need an interdependent approach.”

Unite Scotland industrial officer, Pat McIlvogue, said: “The aviation sector is teetering on the brink and doing nothing is not an option for thousands of workers and their families across Scotland who depend on their airport jobs.

“The imminent end of the furlough scheme is another cliff edge moment for aviation jobs, there will be pain but there is still hope for the sector and we want the Scottish government to meaningfully engage with our members in line with its own fair work principles.

“By working with us to ensure support and investment is properly targeted at the jobs and services we need to aid our recovery, rather than swathes of public money lining the pockets of bad and opportunistic employers, there can be a future for Scotland’s aviation sector.”