Trade unions have called on Theresa May to prove her commitment to industry and growth by giving the go-ahead to a new Heathrow runway when parliament returns a week from now.
The TUC, and trade unions with members in construction, manufacturing and aviation, have written to the Prime Minister urging her to support the recommendation of the Airports Commission and announce “a clear and final decision to build a new third runway at Heathrow”.
Trade unions warn that government failure to finalise the decision could hold back the 70,000 jobs the Airport Commission says will be created in the vicinity of Heathrow, and thousands more jobs across the UK that the Commission says will be generated by the boost to trade in services and manufacturing.
The unions tell the Prime Minister that “trade unions and their members stand ready to work to help the government successfully deliver this next major national infrastructure project”.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “If we want a stronger economy, we must build the infrastructure British industry needs to compete in the world.
“We’ve heard positive words about industrial strategy from the Prime Minister, but it’s action that counts. When parliament returns, the Prime Minister should waste no time in announcing a clear and final decision to build a new runway at Heathrow.
“The Heathrow decision is a big test for the government. Ministers must show they are prepared to make the right choices so that working people do not pay the price for Brexit. That means getting a move on with a proper industrial strategy backed by public investment. Otherwise Britain will struggle to create decent jobs and attract new business.”
NOTES TO EDITORS:
– There follows the full letter to the Prime Minister from the TUC, Unite, GMB, Prospect and Balpa:
Dear Prime Minister,
More than a year since the Airports Commission issued its final report, we write on behalf of trade union members across the UK to urge the Government to implement its recommendation for the construction of a new London runway, without further delay.
The aviation and aerospace industries employ many thousands of trade union members in high-skill, high-quality jobs. Aviation also supports further employment in industries such as construction, manufacturing and tourism. Research for the Airports Commission found that a new third runway at Heathrow could deliver at least £147bn to UK GDP and 70,000 new jobs in the South East, and many more nationwide. [This is incorrect. See link to Airports Commission document. It says it might deliver up to £147 billion. And its own experts questioned that. See link ]
A commitment to build a third runway at Heathrow, based on the clear recommendations of the Airports Commission, would be a sign of support for a pro-growth, pro-jobs industrial strategy. The Airports Commission called for training opportunities and apprenticeships for local people, so that nearby communities benefit from jobs generated by the new infrastructure. It argued that Heathrow Airport Ltd should work with local authorities and schools to ensure local people, including young people, are able to benefit from this project and that Heathrow Airport Ltd should support the London Living Wage. Needless to say, this call was fully supported by trade unions.
Unions and their members were pivotal to the delivery of previous major infrastructure projects such as Heathrow Terminal 5 and the London 2012 Olympic Games. We now stand ready to work to help the Government successfully deliver this next major national infrastructure project.
We therefore urge the Government to announce a clear and final decision to build a new third runway at Heathrow based on the recommendations of the Airports Commission. Any further delay in the decision will harm the whole of UK Plc.
Frances O’Grady, General Secretary, TUC
Len McCluskey, General Secretary, Unite
Tim Roche, General Secretary, GMB
Mike Clancy General Secretary, Prospect
Brian Strutton, General Secretary, British Airline Pilots Association
– The figures quoted above on the number of jobs created and the boost to GDP come from the Airport Commission’s Final Report (http://tinyurl.com/nry635w) and Strategic Fit: GDP/GVA impacts (http://tinyurl.com/jdywas4). The Commission provides separate estimates for the area in the vicinity of Heathrow, and more broadly across the UK, as well as at different time intervals following completion of the runway up to 2060. The 70,000 figure is for jobs created in the vicinity of Heathrow by 2030. The Commission also estimates that 190,000 jobs will be generated nationwide by 2060.
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