The decision to axe 399 workers at Safran Seats UK, which makes commercial airline seats, has been branded as ‘knee jerk as bosses should have continued to apply for the government’s coronavirus job retention scheme (JRS).

Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, is angry that more than 200 jobs are under threat at Camberley, Surrey, which the French-owned company intends to close, and there are a further 187 proposed redundancies at Cwmbran in south Wales out of a workforce of about 1,250.

The company has two other sites at Brackley, Northamptonshire and Braintree, Essex

Unite national officer for aerospace Rhys McCarthy said: "Unite is extremely concerned by Safran Seats UK’s decision to announce the redundancy threat to 399 highly skilled workers, totalling 25 per cent of its workforce across its four UK sites.

“The government’ job retention scheme, now extended until the end of June, that trade unions, including Unite, lobbied for was put in place to avoid this kind of knee jerk reaction.

 “It is appalling that the company has not used this scheme to its full extent to buy time to look at alternatives to this massive jobs’ cull. It has applied for the JRS and should have continued to go down that route, instead of opting for immediate widespread redundancies as the first option.

 “Unite is, unfortunately, not surprised by Safran’s behaviour as we have an outgoing human rights dispute with the company and a complaint lodged with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) regarding Safran’s anti-trade union behaviour at its Cwmbran site in breach of a legally binding global agreement which the company signed up to.

 “Unite will raise with Safran executives at the highest level the urgent need to rescind this decision and safeguard the employees’ jobs by taking up the government’s JRS.

 “This is potentially another blow to the UK aviation and aerospace industries which needs government industry-specific support, as promised, to see the sectors through the pandemic.”


 Notes to editors:

Safran S.A. is a French multinational aircraft engine, rocket engine, aerospace-component and defence company; employing over 95,000 people and generating 24.64 billion euros in sales in 2019,


For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on:  020 3371 2065

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: 

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.