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Dear GMB member,


The GMB is supporting the 'Speak Up For Travel' day of action on Wednesday 23rd June.

For those wanting to attend the event in London with the GMB, we will be meeting at Westminster station at 2pm, if we are not directly outside the station, we will be near by - just look for the orange flags!

Here is a draft letter that you can use to email your MP letting them know you will be at College Green and asking them to come and meet you. You can let them know you will be with the GMB contingent. 

The day of action is formally supported by all major employer representative bodies in the industry and the major aviation trade unions. The purpose of the day is to highlight the plight of employers and staff in the industry and call for specific government support to see the industry through the toughest few years it has ever faced.

The day of action is calling on the UK government to:

  • Allow international travel to return safely and in a risk managed way by properly implementing the Global Travel Taskforce’s plan for a traffic-light system, by expanding the Green list in line with the evidence and making restrictions more proportionate, whilst keeping a strong red list to guard against variants. 
  • Bring forward a package of tailored financial support, including extension of furlough support, recognising that the travel sector’s ability to trade and generate income is much slower than first anticipated and more gradual than for businesses in the domestic economy.  

We are excited to see you on Wednesday!

Nadine Houghton

GMB National Officer


Dear Robert,

Thank you for taking the time to meet GMB last year. The situation for aviation workers is now even more uncertain. You will know that government decisions regarding UK borders will continue to have a devastating impact on workers in the industry.

The GMB has been clear from the start; aviation workers need a sector specific bailout package. The aviation industry was the first industry impacted by this crisis and it is now clear it will be the last to recover.

You will recall at our last meeting that you agreed to meet a small number of our senior aviation representatives. We think it's important that you hear from those working on the front line to help you better understand the concerns they have. We would like to set this meeting up as soon as possible.

A recent GMB survey found that aviation workers report being 33% more anxious than the average for all employees and 69% reported that their work during Covid has had a serious negative impact on their mental health. We would like to work with government and employers to prevent this mental health crisis deepening amongst aviation workers.

For GMB members, the furlough scheme has been a lifeline and while it hasn't saved as many jobs as we would have liked it has kept those key workers that will be needed to get this country flying again in employment, ready and waiting to get back to work. We are hearing from aviation employers that an extension of furlough could stave off another round of mass redundancy.

Aviation employers are little able to plan with such uncertainty. If furlough is genuinely set to end at the end of April most employers will begin the collective redundancy consultation within a matter of weeks. This can be avoided. It is not the case that these workers aren't needed; they will be essential once flying returns.

We look forward to hearing from you with some dates for a meeting.

Kind regards

Nadine Houghton 
GMB National Officer


Aviation workers cannot simply be thrown on the scrap heap because the Government refuses to listen to unions and employers, says GMB Union 

GMB Union says the Government must step in to protect the aviation industry from ‘total collapse’ amid rumours of a full UK border shutdown. 

This morning cabinet minister George Eustice said the Government  has considered the possibility of closing the borders to travellers to prevent new strains of covid being spread in the UK. 

Aviation workers were among the first to be hit by the Covid crisis  look like being the last out of it.  

The aviation minister's announcement of a package of financial support for airport operators in November has still yet to pay out. 

With the aviation industry already on its knees, GMB says the time has come for government to set out a sector specific deal and furlough extension for aviation workers.  

Nadine Houghton, GMB National Officer, said:  

"GMB representatives have worked tirelessly for months to protect jobs in the industry, our members have made sacrifices to keep themselves in work.  

"They are ready and waiting to get back to work, they are trained and they are proud to work in the industry. But the industry is on the brink of total collapse.  

“They cannot simply be thrown on the scrap heap because the Government refuses to listen to unions and employers about what is needed to get the industry flying again - once the time is right. 

"Ministers’ decisions have led to the industry shut down. GMB supports moves to slow the spread of the virus but when these impact on workers the Government must step in."  



Dear Member,

I'd like to start by wishing you and yours a Merry Xmas. I know how hard this year has been for our members in aviation. The GMB couldn't save every job in aviation - but we did save thousands. We fought to keep our members on furlough and reached agreements with employers that allowed that to happen. We have continued to press government for a sector specific deal for aviation and we continue to support our dedicated union representatives, for whom we owe a huge thank you, for being the backbone of our union.

The GMB has worked jointly with other aviation unions to develop tools for our 'Save UK Aviation' campaign. Please can you share these with your friends and colleagues and complete the petition and letter to your MP by clicking on the links below.

Sign the Petition: Save UK Aviation

Tell your MP: Save Uk Aviation

The GMB met recently with the Aviation Minister Robert Courts, to make the case for a sector specific deal and a guarantee that furlough will continue to be available to those that need it. We will continue to press government for this necessary support.

I hope that you can all enjoy a restful festive period.

Nadine Houghton 
GMB National Officer


Date: 23/03/2020
GMB Aviation Bulletin No 4

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 up 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. 

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. 

GMB will be demanding that Aviation employers: 

  1. Top up the remaining 20% of staff wages so no one is unnecessarily out of pocket. 

  1. To immediately negotiate with GMB to agree on furlough arrangements. 

  1. 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 back dated and paid in full from the 1st March (when the grant can be backdated to). 

  1. Halt all redundancy consultations. 

  1. Put those staff that cannot be given hours due to health and safety or operational reasons on furlough so they can receive pay. 

  1. 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. 

Nadine Houghton 
GMB National Officer 

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