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Gloucestershire Business News

Union: GE job losses due to lack of support

The announcement that GE Aviation is to make 142 workers redundant at its Bishop's Cleeve factory is the latest blow to the region's aerospace sector.

And the union representing workers at the factory, Unite, says it is a direct result of the government's failure to provide specific long-term support to an industry heavily affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

GE Aviation's Bishop Cleeve site employs more than 1,600 people. It designs and manufactures electronic and mechanical systems for commercial and military aeroplanes, including for Boeing and Airbus.

Negotiations on the job losses are already underway and it is hoped that the proposed 142 redundancies can be partially mitigated by the creation of 37 new roles, as part of the restructuring process.

Unite said it will be seeking to ensure that the redundancies are voluntary rather than compulsory. The redundancy process is expected to be completed just before Christmas.

The proposed job losses follow announcements earlier this year by the company of 70 job losses at its propeller plant in Gloucester.

Unite said the lack of government support for the aerospace industry is at odds with the position of other European nations, including France and Germany, which have provided substantial long-term support for the industry, to allow it to recover from the pandemic.

Unite has encouraged GE Aviation to use the government's job support scheme to preserve jobs, but there is a belief that as this only runs until next spring, it does not cover the challenges aerospace faces, with order books not expected to recover until 2021.

Matt Allen, Unite regional officer, said: "The announcement of the latest round of job losses will come as a bitter blow to the affected workers and this will be a highly worrying time for them and their families.

"The UK is a world leader in aerospace, but the government is simply not doing enough to support employers and preserve the jobs of highly skilled workers.

"We appreciate the support given to us by the constituency MP - Laurence Robertson - who has written to the chancellor on behalf of Unite to push for further support for the aerospace industry but it is clear that much more needs to be done by the government if we want to retain the UK's standing as a global leader within the industry."

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