Unite secures furlough deals with BA, Rolls Royce, Faurecia and Kuehne + Nagel

Unite has secured  furlough agreements covering workers at British Airways, Rolls Royce, Faurecia and Kuehne + Nagel.

The key parts of the deal with British Airways are with workers furloughed on 80% per cent of pay but with no cap on earnings, an arrangement to divert their pension contributions into their pay, no unpaid temporary layoffs and no redundancies.

Unite assistant general secretary Howard Beckett said: “Unite members at British Airways have recognised the seriousness of the situation facing the aviation sector during this unprecedented crisis, and so have voted to accept the deal negotiated by their union.

“Unite will continue to work on ensuring that members who are still flying remain fully protected. We will also continue to monitor the furlough arrangements throughout the coronavirus crisis.”

Two key points of the deal at Rolls Royce are a 10% pay delay to be paid back in the year starting April 2021. This applies to Rolls-Royce’s global workforce and, for the next three weeks, non-essential workers furloughed on full pay

Unite regional officer Tony Tinley said: “Our reps have worked really hard to achieve a stringent health & safety regime, with such features as a one-way system, which will enable the required employees to continue to work during the coronavirus emergency.

“Throughout the constructive talks with management, Unite has adopted a three-pronged approach: the vital importance of health & safety; protecting the jobs and incomes of our members in the short-term; and securing the long-term employment future of our members and the prosperity of the company.”

Unite regional secretary for the East Midlands Paresh Patel said: “Rolls-Royce is the jewel in the East Midlands manufacturing crown and we need to secure the future of the aerospace sector within the regional economy and beyond. We have also to safeguard the supply chain, employing thousands of workers, which is heavily reliant on Rolls Royce.

“Unite continues to make the case to government of the importance of the UK’s manufacturing base and the need to protect firms and their workforces at this exceptionally difficult time for the economy.”

Staffordshire firm Faurecia Interiors confirmed that its workforce will be registered under the government’s job retention scheme, able to receive 80% of their wages from the government.

Unite welcomed the move by Faurecia, which had previously refused to comment on whether it was intending to register its workforce, and called on the firm to pay workers as normal until the government support comes through.

Unite regional officer Melvyn Palmer said: “Unite welcomes Faurecia’s decision to register its workers under the government’s job retention scheme. Faurecia’s workforce will no doubt be relieved that they have one less thing to worry about during these troubling times.

“Faurecia’s management must now pay workers as normal until the funds from the job retention scheme come through. It is imperative that companies which are closed during the lockdown register their staff under the job retention scheme.

“Employers must also communicate the fact that they are doing so to their workers, who will naturally be concerned about paying the bills and putting food on the table when the economy has ground to a halt.”

And at Kuehne + Nagel workers will receive 100% of their wages if they earn under £20,000 and 90% of their wages if they earn under £30,000. Under the job retention scheme, workers will receive 80% of their wages, up to maximum of £2,500 per month, from the government during the lockdown.

A sliding scale will be used by Kuehne + Nagel to top up the wages of staff earning between £30,000 and £40,000, with workers in this bracket receiving 86% of their wages on average. Employees also have the option to move onto food delivery contracts that are still operational to avoid being furloughed and retain their full pay packet.

The furlough agreement is particularly important for staff working in Kuehne + Nagel’s food and drink logistics operations, where Unite has about 6,500 members, because deliveries to restaurants, pubs, cafes and hotels across the UK have stopped during the lockdown.

Unite national officer for food, drink and agriculture Joe Clarke said: “This is an excellent deal for our members at Kuehne + Nagel and indeed for all of the company’s employees. Kuehne + Nagel staff, while still facing some wage reductions, can rest assured that they will be able to afford to pay their bills and feed their families during the lockdown.

“For those who still want to work and earn 100% of their wages, the company is offering them the opportunity to move onto contracts that are still operational. Over the past two weeks, Unite has worked closely with Kuehne + Nagel to get this furlough deal through. Other companies should take the lead from Kuehne + Nagel and make sure their staff are equally well looked after during this crisis.”

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