This Is a Milestone for British Industrial Relations; Relief for Airbus Workers as 1,000 Jobs Are Saved

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Byline: Carl Butler

UNIONS and management were celebrating last night after workers at North Wales' Airbus factory accepted a package to save 1,000 jobs.

More than 70pc of fulltime workers at Broughton, Flintshire, voted for the deal which includes a 35-hour, four day week and no overtime to stave off compulsory redundancies.

The company will still shed around 300 jobs as a result of the industry's post-terror attack downturn - but hopes to reach the figure through voluntary means.

Works convenor Rob Dowie said: "Common sense has prevailed. This is a milestone in British industrial relations.

One thousand people will now be enjoying Christmas in a more relaxed frame of mind."

Works boss Brian Fleet added: "The result is fantastic. The partnership we have between management and unions has been tested and found to work.

I will be having a much better Christmas now."

Workers were asked to accept a package to help reduce costs. Without it there was a threat that between 1,200 and 1,300 jobs could have to go next year as Airbus faces a downturn in production following the September 11 terror attacks on the USA.

Management and unions held a series of meetings with the workforce to explain the position Airbus was in because of the crisis in the world airline business.

Shop floor workers were told during a two day ballot:

"The trades unions have committed to save 1,200 jobs identified to be at risk at Airbus UK Broughton as a result of reduced production rates.

"The works negotiating committee and full-time officers strongly recommend acceptance of this agreement to maintain and sustain employment levels on site."

Mr Dowie, the convenor and senior AEEU officer at the works, revealed 1,825 full-time workers voted to accept the package and 748 voted to reject it.

Amongst the contract staff on site employed by the Wynnwith Agency, 429 voted to accept and 21 voted against.

Mr Dowie said: "This package will deliver a 35 hour, four day week.

There are many benefits but some downsides.

As a result of this deal the company will keep open the voluntary side of the redundancy offer and we are hopeful that next year we will be able to manage any redundancies by voluntary means. …