Northern Ireland news

Aviation workers warn 'dithering and delay' by Stormont and Westminster risks 'tsunami of job losses'

Unite the Union protest at Belfast International Airport today in solidarity with aviation industry workers whose jobs are at risk over Covid restrictions on air travel

AVIATION workers were joined by three MPs as they held a socially-distanced protest at Belfast International Airport calling on Westminster and Stormont to save jobs.

The Unite union has accused Chancellor Rishi Sunak of breaking a promise to help the aviation industry, as ongoing restrictions after three months of lockdown have left it facing an "unprecedented crisis".

The Keep Northern Ireland Connected - Save Our Airports demonstration on Saturday was part of a UK-wide campaign and attended by DUP MPs Paul Girvan and Sammy Wilson and Alliance's Stephen Farry.

There were also protests at Birmingham, Glasgow, Edinburgh and East Midlands airports, with more planned today at Stansted, Heathrow and Bristol.

Unite regional officer George Brash told reporters workers are "hugely frustrated" as Northern Ireland faces "a tsunami of redundancies" in the industry, while there has been "dithering and delay" from both Stormont and Westminster.

The union said the demonstration is the beginning of a campaign to safeguard airports, and protect regional connectivity and jobs.

Mr Girvan said his party has been using whatever influence it has at Westminster to make the case for the industry, adding he does not feel the airport has been treated fairly.

"The international airport plays a key role in the overall Northern Ireland economy and the growth of our economy is dependent on having connectivity with the rest of the outside world," he said.

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