By Maximilian Clarke

The decision by Airbus to offshore vital work on aircraft wings from Wales to Korea has been described as ‘a massive own goal’ by the UK’s foremost trade union.

The workforce at the company’s Broughton plant in North Wales were told today that work on bottom wing skins on the A320 family of passenger aircraft will move to KAI in Korea.

The company has promised that about 200 of the UK-affected workers will be retrained and redeployed, but Unite says the decision undermines the world beating skills of UK workers and will weaken Britain’s position in the global aerospace industry.

”This decision is a real blow for the UK aerospace industry,” said Unite’s national officer for aerospace and shipbuilding, Ian Waddell. “We have many UK companies that are ready, willing and able to carry out work for Airbus but who have missed out now that work is being sent offshore to Korea.

”The UK is a world leader in wing production, but this contract weakens that position and gives our global competitors an unnecessary edge.

”The UK government and the Welsh Assembly have pumped millions of pounds into Airbus over many years, but that support has not been reflected in keeping work in the UK. Workers in the aerospace supply chain will feel this is a massive own goal by the UK's leading aircraft manufacturer.”

Unite has received assurances that existing Airbus workers will be protected from job losses and the company will retrain anyone displaced and move them to other work.

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