Tam Mitchell also said to me that he had been told officially by the company that maintenance, repair and overhaul—MRO—is not even on the agenda of the working group’s meetings, because the First Minister’s office was told by Warren East, the chief executive officer of Rolls-Royce, that “those jobs are gone”. A Scottish Government and Rolls-Royce working group to protect jobs at Rolls-Royce should not have written off 700 Rolls-Royce jobs.
Today, Parliament is also being lobbied about jobs by aviation workers from Scotland’s airports, organised by the GMB trade union. Some of them are employed by Menzies Aviation. That company continues to claim 100 per cent rates relief from the Scottish Government while attempting to fire and rehire its workers with their terms and conditions slashed by almost half.
Pamela Ritchie, who is demonstrating outside, has worked at Glasgow airport for 15 years. She works for Swissport. Some 800 out of 1,000 Swissport jobs in Scotland are at risk. She told me:
“Everyone understands how difficult the situation is for air travel, but to be losing so many airport jobs without any action from the Scottish Government to help us just feels like we are the collateral damage in the coronavirus crisis.”
We cannot continue to see more workers feel like they are “collateral damage” during the pandemic. Will the First Minister work with the aviation trade unions and not just the airport owners and operators? Will she make 100 per cent business rates relief conditional on good employment practices? Will she listen to and meet those workers before more jobs are lost?