The First Minister has said she “deeply regrets” the announcement of redundancies at Edinburgh Airport, after it’s chief executive said a third of the workforce would lose their jobs.
The job losses, which will come into effect immediately, coverall areas – including frontline staff, management and support functions.
Gordon Dewar, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Airport, blamed in part “an ill-thought-out and unworkable blanket quarantine policy” from the Scottish government and said he was still waiting to find out what support the government could offer the airport to save jobs.
The airport directly employs 750 people, and said it had consulted with staff and unions before announcing the job losses.
At a press conference this afternoon, Ms Sturgeon said: “I deeply regret the need for the redundancies that have been announced at Edinburgh Airport today, and my thoughts are with the workforce there.
“We will continue to seek to support the aviation industry and the wider aerospace sector as much as we can. Earlier this week I had a discussion with the trade union about some of the issues there, and we will work with the UK government to try to do that as well.
“I wish I had – more than anything else right now – a magic wand to take away not just the threat of the virus, but all of the implications and consequences of dealing with this virus.
But she insisted that the coronavirus quarantine was too important to change.
“One of the biggest risks, we face right now is importation of this virus into the country from other parts of the world,” she said.
“And there’s no foolproof way of guarding against that – short of just stopping people coming in at all for any reason.
“But given the interconnectedness of Scotland to the rest of the UK and Europe, that’s difficult to do.
“So quarantine is the best way that we can devise at the moment, to reduce the risk of people bringing the virus in,” she added.
Miles Briggs, Lothian MSP added: “Edinburgh Airport have had no choice but to make these redundancies, because of the impact of Covid-19 on the aviation industry, and my thoughts are with employees who will be made redundant through no fault of their own.
“These job redundancies reinforce the importance of investing in the South East of Scotland to grow the economy and create more job opportunities.
“Employees who are being made redundant must be fully supported to find new roles and develop new skills for career changes until the aviation industry recovers.”
Unite, the union, expressed its disappointment at the announcement, with Unite regional officer Sandy Smart saying: “The entire civil aviation sector has been impacted by the pandemic and we are genuinely worried about the sector in Scotland once the government support through JRS is reduced.
“We have been calling on Westminster and Holyrood parliaments to put an aid package together to help Scotland’s airports and we will continue to pursue this.”
“Scotland needs its airports and the aviation industry is crucial in ensuring we remain connected globally. ”
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