Chris Elmore MP
Chris Elmore MP

Local Welsh Labour MP for Ogmore, Chris Elmore, has called on the UK Government to bring forward an urgent sector deal for the aviation sector, which continues to grapple with the coronavirus crisis.

Speaking after an urgent question in Parliament on the economic response to COVID-19, the Ogmore MP called on ministers to “do whatever it takes” to protect highly-skilled, well-paid Welsh jobs. He also stressed that additional support was needed for British Airways workers and the wider supply chain who have faced grave uncertainty since the pandemic began.

At the end of last month, news broke of 400 possible job losses among BA staff working at their sites in Llantrisant, Blackwood, and Cardiff Airport. BA has said that, at this point, these job losses are “proposals” and that they are entering into a period of consultation with workers at these sites.

Recent media reports have indicated that the national flag carrier is seeking to change the employment rights of the workers who are not made redundant in the short-term. The airline has already furloughed 22,600 of its workers via the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The firm is said to be planning to move 14,300 cabin crew alone onto new contracts, requiring them to work both long haul and short haul flights.

The British Airlines Pilots’ Union (BALPA) has reported that the new terms of these new contacts will be zero-hours style, reflecting the uncertainty facing the firm in the medium and long-term future.

Speaking during an Urgent Question in Parliament on British Airways earlier this month, Chris said the response from the UK Government to date was “just not good enough”.

Chris Elmore MP said:

“Unite the union assesses that the South Wales economy could face a £1.6 billion black hole if urgent action is not taken to support the aviation sector.

The way British Airways workers have been treated has been frankly appalling. UK Government Ministers need to urgently step up, work with airlines and the wider supply chain, and create a specific sector deal for aviation.

British Airways need to play their part too, though. They can’t be allowed to continue running roughshod over their loyal workers – the way they have been treated thus far has been contemptuous.”

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