Aviation & Aerospace

Published: October 5, 2020 | Updated: October 9, 2020

Union says loss of 140 aerospace jobs due to Covid-19 “devastating blow” to local economy

Janet Wall, Regional Officer, Unite: “This is very grim news for our members, their families and the Dorset economy.”
By Andrew Diprose, editor

A union has described the part-closure of Magellan Aerospace’s Bournemouth operation with the loss of 140 jobs as “a devastating blow” to the Dorset economy.

As revealed first on Dorset Biz News, management at the Canadian-owned company broke the news to shop stewards at the Wallisdown Road plant on the morning of October 6.

The part-closure will take effect from June 2021.

According to Unite, it is due to the loss of orders from Airbus and Boeing for which the company supplied aerospace parts.

It brings the total number of jobs lost at Magellan this year to 300.

The aviation industry has been badly hit by Covid-19 and the collapse in air travel.

Unite say Magellan is closing the civil machining and assembly operation at Bournemouth, the company’s largest loss-making site in the UK.

Any existing work would be moved/split to Magellan Northern Ireland and Poland.

This would leave up to 30 jobs in the defence treatment facility and a further 30 in support at the site.

Defence contracts are for F35’s via BAE with the company looking to win more work.

Income from orders is expected to drop by more than 50 per cent by 2021

Janet Wall, Unite’s Regional Officer, said: “This is very grim news for our members, their families and the Dorset economy.

“The south west region can ill-afford to lose these highly skilled jobs and further reinforces the need for greater government help for the aviation sector to tide it through the pandemic.

“Our government is failing UK industries and jobs.

“It needs to step up support like other governments, including Germany and many others.

“The government must take the lion’s share of responsibility for failing to intervene to support those sectors and the jobs in the economy left most exposed by the current crisis.

“The south west is home to the nation’s leading aerospace hub and is second only to the United States in terms of development and manufacture of aircraft worldwide.

“The consultation on the redundancies starts on November 10 and Unite will give maximum support to our about 100 members during this process.

“These are highly skilled people and they will find it very difficult to find comparable jobs.

“It’s a very sad day.”

Magellan Aerospace UK, part of the Canadian multinational, produces parts for the aerospace industry, primarily for Airbus and Boeing.

In a statement, Magellan Aerospace said: “The Coronavirus pandemic continues to have an unprecedented impact on the aerospace industry which has affected the Magellan Aerospace (UK) Ltd business.

“Magellan’s customers are being significantly impacted by the pandemic and have decreased their orders for Magellan’s products resulting in reduced business levels.

“Since the outbreak of the pandemic the business has remained in full and regular dialogue with all customers to gain a better understanding of both current and future demand levels. Based on orders from customers for the remainder of 2020 and 2021, the business has been forced to review operations.

“Magellan is presently consulting with Unite Union at local and regional level and non-union representatives regarding the current business situation. These talks will remain in place and the
business is endeavoring to mitigate the proposed 140 job losses.

“The Bournemouth plant will remain open, although the operations will be downsized significantly and will focus primarily on treatments.

“Employees are a key part of Magellan Aerospace.

“Magellan’s leadership team has managed through several economic cycles in the past and are committed to weathering this storm and ensure that Magellan will be part of the local community for years to come.

“Magellan has operated the Bournemouth site since 2004 when it acquired the assets of Moore’s Wallisdown.

“Magellan grew the business into a centre of excellence for the manufacture of aerostructures components in aluminum and titanium for Airbus and other aircraft OEMs.”