Saturday 21 July 2018

Airbus workers have 'grave concerns' about factory's future

Airbus has warned that a ‘no deal’ Brexit could threaten its future in the UK (Andrew Matthews/PA)
Airbus has warned that a ‘no deal’ Brexit could threaten its future in the UK (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Eleanor Barlow

Workers at the North Wales factory of aerospace giant Airbus have "grave concerns" about the site's future after the company warned it could pull out of the UK.

Darren Reynolds, Unite the Union site convener for the wing production plant in Broughton, Flintshire, said it would be "devastating" for the area if the company chose to move production elsewhere following Brexit.

Speaking outside the factory on Friday, he said: "I have just been speaking with the members locally in the plant and they are really concerned now regarding what the future looks like for Airbus."

He added: "We're coming into Article 50 in March and have not got any assurances on how we are going to get parts in and out of the plant going forward."

Beluga aircraft fly between the plant and European sites several times a day to deliver parts.

Mr Reynolds said: "If we aren't able to supply the wing sets to final assembly lines abroad I'm sure Airbus will find someone who will."

Mr Reynolds said he had visited Downing Street twice this year to discuss the impact of Brexit with Government ministers but was not sure they understood the concerns.

He said: "This site here employs 6,500 people, it's key to this area and the North West to have the jobs that we do and you tell them about the infrastructure of the supply chain and everything around what we do, that comes out of the Broughton plant, however they're not giving any answers."

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

Fitter David Lawless, 34, said the news came as a shock and there had been a mixed reaction from his colleagues.

He said: "A lot of people are brushing it off and saying it won't happen, it's just talk, but the reality is companies are folding before Brexit has even happened. I don't know what is going to happen here.

Mr Lawless said he had voted leave in the Brexit referendum. "I was in two minds. I wanted to leave but obviously a lot of people were asking questions before about if we were to leave, how it would affect us," he said.

"People were saying it would never affect us here because it's too big a company.

"I'm still happy I voted for it but I thought we had more of a hold and a footing here in Broughton."

He added: "We need to fight for it and we just need to try and stick together and give the Government a reason to keep us here."

Peter Sinnott who has worked at the Broughton site since 1980, said the news had been "inevitable" since the Brexit vote.

He said: "Once we had a border (with Europe) it was always going to happen.

"Mr Farage knew the vote wouldn't affect him either way.

"It's every common man it affects."

He added: "I'm 55 so it doesn't really worry me but there are younger lads in there with mortgages to pay."

Retired Airbus worker Keith Peat, 66, who was visiting the Broughton site to use the gym on Friday, said: "You can't underestimate the impact this company has on the local area. There are so many people I know locally, neighbours and friends, who work here."

Press Association

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