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Letter to Downing Street

FMs and Unite demand No 10 acts to save aerospace jobs

Rolls Royce Inchinnan

Rolls-Royce is among the firms laying off workers

Political leaders in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have joined trade union Unite to demand Prime Minister Boris Johnson takes action to save the aerospace industry.

The First Ministers of the devolved administrations Nicola Sturgeon (Scotland), Mark Drakeford (Wales) and Arlene Foster (NI) are chief signatories to a letter calling for the creation of a UK Aerospace Taskforce.

Following a spate of redundancy announcements at Rolls-Royce, GE Caledonian, Spirit Aerosystems and Wyman Gordon the Fraser of Allander Institute produced a report commissioned by Unite which indicated that 1,225 jobs could be lost, rising to 2,530 across the Scottish economy.

The joint letter acknowledges that it will take three to five years for the sector to return to ‘pre-crisis levels’ and calls for Downing Street to intervene because the tools required to support the sector throughout and beyond the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic are not devolved.

The joint appeal to Downing Street came as it was reported Rolls-Royce is looking to raise around £2.5 billion from investors and is in talks with sovereign wealth funds, including Singapore’s GIC.

The company is planning to launch the equity raise in the first weeks of October, the Financial Times reported.

The full text of the letter:

Dear Prime Minister

The global pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on the aerospace sector across the whole of the UK and urgent intervention is now required to preserve capability and avert further damaging losses.

The collapse in demand for global air travel has had a significant impact upon the aerospace sector, through reductions for new aircraft and for Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) activities due to grounded fleets. Whilst the general consensus is that it will take 3 – 5 years for the sector to return to pre-crisis levels there is further uncertainty given the resurgence of COVID-19 being witnessed across Europe and the possibility of further outbreaks in the future.

Whilst our respective governments are doing our part to protect our sectors we recognise that the severity of the immediate crisis goes beyond the tools available to us and requires urgent intervention from your Government.

To that end, and further to the letter from the economy secretaries on 9th July, we collectively seek the UK Government’s agreement to urgently establish and convene an Aerospace Taskforce.

This must include active participation from the Devolved Administrations and the appropriate level of representation from all key stakeholders including trade unions and aerospace businesses in order to identify the industry specific challenges and develop appropriate responses to support the businesses, workers and communities at risk.

The scale of this challenge cannot be underestimated and each government is absolutely determined and committed to its role in retaining the capability and expertise that enables the UK to retain its position in the global aerospace sector. We must do all we can to save jobs and mitigate the devastating impact on the sector and its workforce.

The establishment of an Aerospace Taskforce would be a positive signal to the sector highlighting that all our governments remain committed to working together in order to preserve this sector that is hugely important to the whole of the UK but we must act now.

Signatories
Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland
Mark Drakeford, First Minister of Wales
Arlene Foster, First Minister of Northern Ireland
Michelle O’Neill, deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland
Pat Rafferty, Regional Secretary, Unite the Union, Scotland
Peter Hughes, Regional Secretary, Unite the Union, Wales
Jackie Pollock, Regional Secretary, Unite the Union, Northern Ireland



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