Talks begin over potential jobs losses in south Wales as GE Aviation plan to cut global workforce by 25%

Credit: PA Images

There are fears employees at GE Aviation in south Wales could lose their jobs as it plans to cut a quarter of its global workforce by a quarter.

The international company, who maintain aircraft engines, have begun consulting with the 1,400 employees who work at their Nantgarw site.

They said the consultation will take 45 days and they are speaking with every Welsh employee. The company added that they hope this will be done via a voluntary redundancy basis.

The aviation industry has suffered a huge blow as a result of coronavirus travel restrictions. Air traffic is expected to drop by 80% throughout April, May and June.

Most employees at GE Aviation Wales have been furloughed until the end of next month but job losses are predicted after that.

In a letter to employees, the company's CEO, David Joyce wrote further ''cost-cutting actions'' were needed to scale to the realities of the commercial market.

He said, "We are developing our plan for permanent reductions to our global employee base that we anticipate will bring our total reductions this year to as much as 25%."

A spokesperson for the company said they 'regret' having to reduce the workforce.

The business is consulting with all employees at the Wales site, including those currently furloughed, regarding voluntary severance. The total number of people affected will only be finalised through the consultation process which is currently underway.

GE Aviation Spokesperson
Air traffic is expected to have dropped by 80% in April and that this decrease will continue throughout May and June. Credit: PA Images

Responding to the possible job losses, Mick Antoniw, MS for Pontypridd, and Member of Parliament for the area, Alex Davies-Jones, said: “This will be a very worrying time for employees, but we do welcome the company’s decision to proceed on the basis of voluntary redundancies, conducted in full consultation with all employees and the trades unions.

"GE Aviation is a crucial part of both the local and global economy and we will continue to support the company and its employees through this extremely difficult time.”

Workers union, Unite, said they are supporting members and calling on GE Aviation not to make any "rash decisions that could hinder its ability to bounce back and ramp up production once this crisis is over."

GE Aviation follow other companies in the industry who are concerned over the future of their business. Airbus furloughed approximately 3,200 workers at its Broughton site after its chief executive reportedly told staff the firm is “bleeding cash".