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Up to 54 redundancies planned in Belfast airport security, says union

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Belfast International Airport

Belfast International Airport

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Belfast International Airport

Belfast International Airport's security staff provider has announced plans for more than 50 redundancies, Unite the Union has said.

Wilson James took over the airport's security services on November 1 and it's now thought they are planning for 54 redundancies among the airport's security staff.

Unite the Union, which represents the workers affected, has said the move is "unnecessary" and said the jobs affected could remain on furlough.

They also called for an aviation rescue strategy to safeguard future of both Belfast airports.

Regional officer for Unite George Brash said: "Unite has received a HR1 notification from Wilson James for proposals to make redundant 54 workers at Belfast International Airport.

"Three quarters of this workforce are currently furloughed under the government’s Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme and there is absolutely no need to push them onto dole queues and their families onto bread lines in the midst of a pandemic.

"The workers affected have been left reeling as they had rightfully assumed that their status would be protected through the furlough scheme until the airport recovered its footfall."

Mr Brash raised concerns about the future of jobs in Belfast airports and called for politicians to safeguard the future of regional transportation hubs.

"We call on Stormont political leaders to bring forward an Aviation Rescue strategy – Northern Ireland and these workers deserve better than continued inaction.

"In response to this announcement, Unite will continue to engage with management at Wilson James to attempt to reduce job losses and to obtain the best possible outcome for our members."

A Wilson James spokesperson said: "The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many industries, particularly aviation. The drastic reduction in flights and supporting airport operations is affecting many organisations and Wilson James is no exception.

"Our objective is to work with our team to mitigate the risk of redundancy. This process is a direct result of the unprecedented situation we find ourselves in and not reflective of our team’s performance.

Throughout this public health crisis, we have prioritised transparent and ongoing dialogue. This includes weekly meetings with Unite the Union since late March 2020 and regular engagement sessions in which our aviation workforce can interact directly with our leadership team.

"Our chief priorities are therefore to reduce the impact of redundancies by working with employee representatives and union partners in a transparent and collaborative manner, and to continue to work with the whole of the Belfast community to provide a quality service to the passengers we serve."

Belfast International Airport has said they will not be making any comment.

Belfast Telegraph