Burnley Council calls on government to support recovery plan for 'vital' aerospace industry
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The Labour led motion, calling on the government to support a recovery plan for the aerospace sector, which employs thousands of skilled workers across Burnley and Pendle, was sanctioned at a meeting of the full council.
Proposed by Coun. Frank Cant, a retired aerospace worker, the motion was seconded by Coun. Sue Graham.
Coun. Cant said: "It is really important that we are able to secure the continuation of skilled jobs in the area for our current workforce and future generations."
Pointing out that the local aerospace sector faces an 'uncertain future' due to the pandemic and needs the government to act, council leader Coun.Mark Townsend said: "Burnley Council is calling for the government to support and protect this vital sector."
Coun. Townsend said it was felt that amendments proposed by the Green Party to ensure that any support package put the needs of and support for the workforce first 'diluted' the message put forward to the government.
He added: "We did not include these amendments and the motion was passed with the help of cross party support.
"The council will now write to Burnley's MP and the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy asking for their support."
Leader of the Green Party, Coun. Andy Fewings said they were disappointed that the recovery strategy had not consulted with workers or unions.
He said: "We sought to amend the motion to make it clear that the needs of the workforce, not just the shareholders, should be prioritised and we were disappointed that the majority of the Labour Councillors joined with the Conservative Party to vote down those protections for workers.
"The importance of the sector to the livelihoods of neighbours and families in Burnley and East Lancashire cannot be understated.
"There is a whole supply chain affected."
Burnley was dealt a blow in May when one of the town's biggest employers, Safran Nacelles, announced it was expected to shed up to 250 jobs from its plant.
The aerospace company, which has sites across the world, is one of Burnley's biggest private sector employers, employing around 750 people at its site in Bancroft Road.
There was more bad news in August when Rolls-Royce announced it was intent on offshoring the production of its Trent Engine blades, which are made at Barnoldswick to a factory in Singapore.
Rolls-Royce currently has two adjoining production units in the town – Bankfield and Ghyll Brow – employing around 520 employees.
These proposals would see a reduction in activities at the Bankfield site, a move that would impact approximately 350 employees
Workers at Barnoldswick's Rolls-Royce factory will embark on three weeks of targeted strike action beginning next month, as part of the campaign led by Unite the union, to preserve the viability of the factory.