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Airbus is to axe 1,700 jobs in the UK – with Broughton expected to take the brunt of the hit.

Chief Executive Guillaume Faury this week warned that Airbus was planning for a two-year drop of 40% in jetliner output and that restructuring was needed as the aviation sector is hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Now the aerospace giant has confirmed 15,000 jobs are at risk globally with hundreds of those in the UK.

Meetings with unions in Europe have started this week and the cuts due at individual sites will be announced in the coming days.

The axe will fall on the commercial aircraft side of the business with 6,000 staff employed at the wing assembly site in North Wales particularly vulnerable. Five hundred workers with agency Guidant already face redundancy.

Airbus Commercial also employs around 3,000 workers at Filton, near Bristol.

Airbus Defence and Space employ 450 in Newport, 1,000 in Portsmouth and 1,200 in Stevenage but these sites should not be impacted.

The company has a global workforce of 135,000.

“For the next two years – 2020/21 – we assume that production and deliveries will be 40% lower than originally planned,” Faury said this week.

He said output – currently reduced by around 33% – will return to normal by 2025.

He added: “It’s a brutal fact, but we must do it. It is about the necessary adjustment to the massive drop in production. It’s about securing our future,” he added.

France has announced a €15bn (£13.3bn) aid package for its aerospace industry with the UK Government urged to offer similar support to the sector in Britain.

Jobs under threat:

●        5,000 positions in France

●        5,100 positions in Germany

●        900 positions in Spain

●        1,700 positions in the UK

●        1,300 positions at Airbus’ other worldwide sites

While compulsory actions cannot be ruled out at this stage, Airbus will work with its social partners to limit the impact of this plan by relying on all available social measures, including voluntary departures, early retirement, and long term partial unemployment schemes where appropriate.

“Airbus is facing the gravest crisis this industry has ever experienced,” said Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury.

“The measures we have taken so far have enabled us to absorb the initial shock of this global pandemic. Now, we must ensure that we can sustain our enterprise and emerge from the crisis as a healthy, global aerospace leader, adjusting to the overwhelming challenges of our customers. To confront that reality, we must now adopt more far-reaching measures.

“Our management team and our Board of Directors are fully committed to limiting the social impact of this adaptation. We thank our governmental partners as they help us preserve our expertise and know-how as much as possible and have played an important role in limiting the social impact of this crisis in our industry. The Airbus teams and their skills and competences will enable us to pursue our ambition to pioneer a sustainable future for aerospace.”

Peter Hughes, Unite Wales regional secretary, said: “The significance of large scale job losses at Airbus would have a devastating impact on the aerospace sector in Wales and on the wider Welsh economy. Unite has been calling for the UK Government to put a plan of support in place for the Aerospace sector for months. This support has been provided by France and Germany, will the UK Government now step up to the plate and do everything required to support UK aviation jobs?

“We are calling upon Airbus to hold their nerve and step back from implementing their plan. Everything must be done to engage with Government to see if the necessary support can be provided to delay this decision until this crisis abates. Certainly further extension of the furlough scheme to the aerospace sector would be a medium term solution whilst it rebuilds and recovers.

“Unite will not accept any proposal that involves compulsory redundancy for our members.”

Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales, Ken Skates said: “This news is utterly devastating.  Tonight there will be a huge number of workers at Airbus extremely worried by this announcement – my thoughts are with them and their families.

“As a Welsh Government we will stand shoulder to shoulder with the company, its workforce, the unions and the communities impacted by this – and I will be setting out more detail of the Welsh Government’s response tomorrow.

“Nobody should be under  any illusion about the impact Covid is having on aerospace, a critical part of the Welsh economy. 

“The sector is in crisis and the UK Government needs to take swift and decisive action now to save the industry and its supply chain. The alarm bells have been sounding for weeks and we need urgent steps at a UK level to prevent this crisis becoming even worse.”

Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart said: “Airbus is a vital part of the North Wales economy so this is extremely worrying news for workers, their families and the wider community.

“I have spoken to Airbus this week and will continue to work closely with the company, the trade unions and the Welsh Government to do everything we can to support employees and those affected in the wider supply chain.”

This content was originally published here.