The Ulster Unionist Party's new Economy Spokesperson Mike Nesbitt MLA is calling on the UK Government to extend the Furlough Scheme for the aviation sector. This follows yesterday's news that Thompson Aero is shedding 180 jobs because of the downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mike Nesbitt said:
"I raised this alarming news at my first meeting of the Stormont Economy Committee this morning and am glad the Committee has agreed to write to Invest NI seeking clarity regarding a number of redundancy announcements from the company. Is yesterday's news part of a previous announcement that 500 jobs were to go, or is this additional?
"Beyond that, while I understand the Department for Communities will roll out a support package for the workers who are to lose their jobs, it is important we understand what Invest NI can do to ensure Thompson Aero are in a position to expand their business again when the sector recovers for Covid.
"The Committee heard that the aviation sector might not reach pre-Coronavirus activity levels until 2024 or 2025. Given some sectors of our economy will need longer to recover then others, I am calling on the Chancellor to extend the Furlough Scheme on a sector-specific basis, to ensure local employers in valuable sectors such as aviation retain the skilled workers that will be needed when society recovers from the pandemic and more people start flying again."