Baggage handlers at Manchester Airport face job losses as union makes desperate plea for more government support

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Ground staff based Manchester Airport are facing redundancy after an aviation company proposed to make substantial job cuts.

Stobart Aviation Services is looking to reduce the number of baggage handlers at Manchester, Southend and Stansted airports.

The company provides ground handling, passenger services and airside logistics to a number of UK airports.

Unite the union said the firm is consulting to make 63 out of 149 workers at Manchester Airport redundant – 42 per cent of the work force.

At Southend Airport, which has already seen both Aer Lingus’ and easyJet leave, proposed job losses are 94 out of 153 employees.

The company is proposing to make 98 out o 147 workers at Stansted airport redundant – 67 per cent of total jobs.

a large passenger jet sitting on top of a tarmac at an airport: Around 42 per cent of the firm's workforce at Manchester Airport could go

© Daily Mirror/Andy Stenning
Around 42 per cent of the firm’s workforce at Manchester Airport could go

Unite say the latest round of redundancies is ‘almost certainly’ linked to the proposed end of the government’s furlough scheme.

The Job Retention Scheme (JRS) is due to formally conclude at the end of October, despite the fact that airport’s are still not working at full capacity.

Unite have warned that without targeted support for the aviation, aerospace and hospitality sectors, jobs will be lost ‘needlessly.’

Unite national officer for civil air transport Oliver Richardson said: “The proposed job losses at Stobart Aviation are yet another example of why the sector needs specific support from the government.

“Time and again we warned that this would happen. Aviation workers and this sector feel abandoned by this government.

“With the JRS scheduled to end next month, companies feel they are on a cliff edge and with passenger numbers not likely to begin to recover until next year at the earliest many feel pushed into making dramatic job cuts.

a group of people in a subway station: Manchester Airport has seen a big reduction in passenger numbers since the start of the pandemic

© Sam Evans
Manchester Airport has seen a big reduction in passenger numbers since the start of the pandemic

“The chancellor originally promised specific support for the aviation sector back in March and the failure to deliver on that promise has already cost thousands of workers their jobs.

“We urge him to delay not a day longer and bring forward the promised support so that more workers are not sent to the dole queue.

“Unite will ensure that our members at Stobart Aviation Services who face a highly stressful and worrying time are treated fairly.”

The union say they will be entering into ‘detailed negotiations’ with Stobart Aviation to ensure that the number of job losses is kept to an absolute minimum.

Stobart Aviation Services have been contacted for comment.

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