Airbus Could Cut Working Hours By 10% In Wales

On Monday, employees at the Airbus facilities in Broughton, Wales, will receive the results of a ballot that will determine whether or not their working hours will be reduced by 10%. If accepted, the deal, negotiated between the planemaker and the union Unite, could save hundreds of jobs. Union representatives have urged their members to vote in favor of the proposal.

Airbus Factory
Union members from Airbus’ facilities near Broughton are expecting the results of a vote that could reduce their working hours but save jobs. Photo: Getty Images

One thousand already left with severance

Employees of planemakers and airlines alike have been hit incredibly hard by the ongoing crisis. Unfortunately, we have likely yet to see the full effects of prolonged travel restrictions and quarantine rules. European plane manufacturer Airbus announced last year that it could cut up to 15,000 jobs across its various sites and facilities.

About a third of those cuts were to take place in France, but 1,435 positions were meant to go from Airbus’ plant in Flintshire, Wales. The company’s Broughton factory normally employs about 6,000 people. Of those, 3,200 were placed on furlough schemes in April 2020. Many workers have reportedly opted for severance packaged, but between 350 and 400 jobs are still at stake.

Up to 3,500 of Airbus’ Wales employees and members of the Unite union have voted on whether or not to cut their working hours in order to safeguard the remaining jobs under threat. The results are due today, Monday, February 1st.

Wings poster airbus broughton
The Broughton site manufactures wings for almost all Airbus aircraft. Photo: Getty Images

One year from April

If the vote passes, weekly hours would be reduced by 10% for a year. The program would commence when the UK government’s furlough scheme runs out at the end of April. As reported by the BBC, Airbus would make up for a third of the shortfall in salaries. However, workers would still lose about 6.6% of their pay.

“Coronavirus has been devastating for the Aerospace sector and specifically for Airbus in the UK. If agreed by the workforce at Broughton, these proposals for a shorter working week will protect jobs and remove the possibility of compulsory redundancies. We have already lost close to 1,000 high-quality jobs at Broughton during the coronavirus crisis; we can’t afford to lose any more,” Peter Hughes, Unite Wales Regional Secretary, commented to the Leader before the ballot.

Mr Hughes further stated that Unite and its senior representatives on-site believed this was the best option available to prevent further job losses. They had, therefore, strongly urged its members to accept the proposal negotiated between Unite and Airbus.

An Airbus spokesperson told Simple Flying the company would have a statement when the results of the vote would be ready.

De Havilland Comet
De Havilland assembled its Comet at the Broughton site. Photo: Getty Images

Proud aerospace heritage

Airbus’ plant in Broughton, along with the facility in Filton, England, designs, tests, and manufactures the wings for all Airbus aircraft, except for the A220. The site itself has a history spanning over 80 years. It began making Vickers-Wellington and Avro Lancaster bombers during World War II. In 1948, it was taken over by De Havilland, which produced its Vampires, Venoms, Mosquitos, Hornets, and Sea Vixens there. It later assembled its first jetliner, the De Havilland Comet, at the site.

Do you think the proposal will pass? Do you think it should? Let us know in the comments. 


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