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Unite Welcomes Scottish Parliament Debate on The Future of Civil Aviation As ‘Second Wave’ Of Redundancies Hits Industry

UNITED KINGDOM / AGILITYPR.NEWS / September 16, 2020 / Unite Scotland has today (16 September) welcomed a debate in the Scottish Parliament focused on the nation’s ailing civil aviation industry amid a ‘second wave’ of redundancies.


The debate secured by Scottish Labour’s Colin Smyth MSP through motion S5M-22711 'Sustainable Aviation Beyond COVID-19’ calls on the Scottish Government to work with the aviation sector and trade unions to agree on a specific package of support for the industry, and that this support must include protections for jobs and working conditions.


A series of aviation companies at Scotland's major airports including Loganair, OCS, ICTS Security, ABM and Saints Transport have recently threatened a spate of redundancy consultations as the UK Government’s Job Retention Scheme draws to a close on 31 October.


Unite has warned that companies and airlines operating in and from Aberdeen Airport have various redundancy consultations underway threatening more than 100 jobs. At Edinburgh Airport, the figure stands at more than 1,000 jobs including Menzies Aviation, Swissport, City Flyer and Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), the company which owns the airport. Glasgow Airport currently has redundancy consultations affecting more than 600 workers at Swissport, Menzies, Loganair, OCS and North Air.

Unite has launched a campaign to ‘Save Scotland’s Airports’ following a Fraser of Allander report conducted on behalf of Unite, which estimated 2,330 direct and indirect job losses in civil aviation with an overall economic loss of around £140m to the Scottish economy after accounting for knock-on effects.


Unite’s ‘Save Scotland’s Airports’ campaign demands are: 

  1. Sector specific support for Civil Air Transport in Scotland including the extension of the UK Government Job Retention Scheme;
  2. Any government support, investment and taxation relief bounded by conditionality around protecting jobs and maintaining current terms and conditions of employment in line with the Fair Work principles 
  3. An extension for any redundancy consultation processes undertaken thus far while sector support measures are brought forward.
  4. Removal of any Fire and Rehire proposals of employers operating in Scottish Airports.


Pat Rafferty, Unite Scottish Secretary, said: “Unite has been warning from the outset of this Covid-19 pandemic that the entire civil aviation sector is on the brink of collapse without Scottish and UK Government support. However, any financial support and relief must be based on the conditionality that jobs, terms and conditions are protected instead of public money being used to subsidise bad employers.”


“Unite representatives have been working tirelessly to stave off more redundancies by working with aviation businesses to exhaust the Job Retention Scheme. But we are now at the cliff edge as the scheme will draw to a close at the end of October. It’s why there is now the beginning of a second wave of redundancies to hit the sector involving companies such as Loganair. The debate in the Scottish Parliament is welcome but we need coordinated action now or we fear that the sector will take years to recover with thousands of jobs being lost in the process if measures are not swiftly enacted.”



Colin Smyth S5M-22711 - Sustainable Aviation Beyond COVID-19


That the Parliament recognises the profound impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on aviation in continuing to deliver its vital role in international transportation and keeping Scotland’s remote and islands communities connected; expresses concern at the risk of further widespread job losses in aviation and in connected sectors such as tourism; notes the importance of government measures such as the job retention scheme to aviation businesses; recognises the need for the Scottish and UK governments to provide direct support to the sector through this period to protect jobs and secure a just transition to a green economy; calls on the Scottish Government to work with the aviation sector and the relevant trade unions in Scotland to agree on a specific package of support for the industry; believes that this support, and any future financial support, must include protections for jobs and working conditions, and assist long-term changes within the sector to tackle the climate emergency and ensure a sustainable future, and calls for an urgent review of the existing quarantine system and for the Scottish Government to bring forward options for a robust regime of airport testing on arrival with follow-up testing at home that places protecting public health at the centre, including supporting evidence and mechanisms for any proposal to safely reduce the quarantine period.

About Us

Unite Scotland is the country’s biggest and most diverse trade union with around 150,000 members. The union is led in Scotland by Pat Rafferty.