Retention Scheme – Coronavirus Update 8

In Coronavirus by GMB x54 Communications

GMB stands ready to negotiate with Aviation employers to protect jobs and wages – NOW.

The Chancellor has announced a Treasury backed ‘Retention Scheme’ to ensure workers at risk of being laid off or made redundant as a result of the Covid19 crisis can receive up to 80% of their wages paid through their normal payroll, to a maximum of £2,500 a month. Employers can then choose to top of the other 20%.

To hear a Tory Chancellor pleading with businesses not to lay staff off or make them redundant all the while praising the Trades Union Congress was truly astonishing.

Like everyone else, we are still studying the details, but we will be moving quickly to negotiate with aviation employers who have already begun to cut staff and lay them off. The scheme states that to receive this payment staff must be ‘furloughed’ and therefore not undertake any work.

This potentially has implications for the licenses and security passes for those staff working in aviation and we will be working with the government and employers over the coming weeks to look at how we best maintain the skilled workers the industry will need.

The GMB has REPEATEDLY called on aviation employers not to act hastily and lay staff off. We have consistently called on them to WAIT for the Chancellor’s announcement.

The GMB will be demanding that Aviation employers:

  1. Top up the remaining 20% of staff wages so no one is unnecessarily out of pocket.
  2. To immediately negotiate with GMB to agree on furlough arrangements.
  3. Act immediately to reinstate those staff that have been laid off, place them on ‘furlough’ and apply for the grants so that those workers’ wages can be backdated and paid in full from the 1st March (when the grant can be backdated to).
  4. Halt all redundancy consultations.
  5. Put those staff that can not be given hours due to health and safety or operational reasons on furlough so they can receive pay.
  6. Ensure the safety of staff by ensuring adequate social distancing measures can be respected and correct PPE provided where necessary.

The government have said workers who “keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass” will still be allowed to use schools and nurseries for their children while they go to work.

The situation continues to be fast-moving and we will do our best to keep you updated as things continue to progress, but rest assured the GMB is doing everything it possibly can to fight for our members in aviation.

Stay safe, keep healthy, the country will need you to keep freight moving, the country fed and medical supplies moving. The GMB thanks you for all you do.