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Travel self-quarantine plan threatens Welsh economy

The UK governments plans for 14 days self-quarantining of arrivals, will spell disaster for the Welsh aviation industry – says GMB.

GMB, the union for aviation staff, has described the UK government’s plans to introduce self-quarantine for UK arrivals as ‘ill thought out’.

From today (Monday 08 June) arrivals to the UK will be expected to quarantine for 14 day save for a list of exempted professions.

GMB believes the move lacks scientific evidence and will be disastrous for the aviation industry and the economy across Wales

The union has launched the Save Our Airports campaign with six key demands which include extending the 80% furlough scheme for another 12 months, a financial package to support the aviation industry and a commitment to work with unions to deliver a way forward for the industry.

In 2018 the aviation industry supported over 2,300 jobs in Wales and contributed around £20 million to the Welsh economy. The gross median salary of an air transport worker in 2018 was around £30,000.

In recent weeks many of these workers have been risking their own health facilitating cargo flights containing vital medical, food supplies and PPE to aid in the national effort against Covid 19 infections.

The union argue that airports are of huge significance to regional economies; providing highly skilled jobs which are often difficult to replicate, whilst also contributing to the creation of almost 126,000 supply chain jobs.

GMB national officer Nadine Houghton said:

“The government’s plans for self-quarantining arrivals to the UK will prove disastrous for an already beleaguered aviation industry. This is a populist move, made without any real scientific evidence or consultation with the industry and unions representing hundreds of thousands of workers throughout the sector.

“Many people forget the huge significance of the aviation industry to the economy in Wales and the impact this quarantine will have on much needed jobs here.

“Aviation jobs aren’t just about airlines, cabin crew and pilots; the aviation industry provides important supply chain jobs to baggage handlers, security, fire crews, taxi drivers and retail workers.

“If the government don’t end this ill thought out policy and step in with a bespoke financial package for aviation then thousands of regional aviation jobs will be lost. It’s not too late for the government to act.”