Unite and trade body ADS in joint Brexit certainty call

ADS, the trade organisation for companies in the UK’s aerospace, defence, security and space sectors, and Britain’s largest union, Unite, joined together today (Wednesday 29 November), to call for a ‘just’ settlement to Brexit negotiations that maintains cross-border partnerships and trade, while protecting investment decisions and high quality jobs. 

The unprecedented joint statement calling for Brexit certainty by Unite assistant general secretary, Steve Turner, and ADS chief executive, Paul Everitt, said: “As representatives of UK aerospace businesses and workers, ADS and Unite the union are united in calling for UK and EU negotiators to reach a just agreement that protects the UK’s internationally successful aerospace industry and all who rely on it. 

“A just settlement of the Brexit negotiations must maintain vital cross-border partnerships and trade, while protecting urgent investment decisions to create and sustain high quality jobs. 

“The UK’s aerospace industry is a national success story worth £32bn a year. Its future growth and the security of hundreds of thousands of jobs associated with the sector depend on the UK government and the European Union agreeing an ambitious and comprehensive deal. 

“As the date of the UK’s exit from the EU comes closer, businesses will be faced with important decisions over future investment. A transition period should be agreed as soon as possible that offers the UK all the benefits of EU membership until a final deal is ready to be implemented. This transition must include continued access to the single market and a customs agreement with the EU, which includes the current benefits of the customs union. 

“New customs processes after Brexit could add £1.5bn in costs to UK aerospace exporters, damaging companies’ ability to compete. The final deal must ensure the frictionless flow of goods, rather than additional checks and controls. 

“There is wide agreement that the UK must remain a member of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Leaving EASA would burden businesses and taxpayers with unnecessary costs, leave aviation workers without vital protections, and lose important agreements with other nations around the world. 

“Many vital workplace protections and rights are currently enshrined in EU law. For regulatory consistency, these protections must be transitioned into UK law when Brexit occurs. 

“In research and development, the UK is a beneficiary of successful EU innovation programmes, like Horizon 2020 and Galileo. The government must secure our future participation or risk the UK losing access to programmes that help to generate new technologies and the jobs that come with them. 

“The sector is reliant on cross-border collaboration between suppliers, customers and research institutions. Companies in the UK and in Europe must retain the ability to access the pool of skilled labour they need to keep the UK aerospace sector a global leader. 

“Last month, Home Office figures confirmed a rise in reports of hate crimes since last year’s referendum. Both the ADS and Unite oppose all forms of discrimination in our workplaces and communities. All those who live and work in the UK must be treated with respect.”