PLANS which could see job losses at British Airways' facility in Blackwood have been called an "absolute body blow”.

BA has revealed that staff at its interiors plant at Hawtin Park in Blackwood will be part of a 45-day consultation period, with fears that more than 1,000 jobs could be lost across south Wales, such is the plight of the aviation industry during the pandemic.

The process will include workers at the maintenance facility at Cardiff Airport, which employs more than 650 people, and the avionic engineering site at Llantrisant.

The purpose-built Blackwood site produces cabin and safety equipment for airlines, but with a huge slump in airline traffic there are real fears that hundreds of workers will be laid off.

Islwyn's MP Chris Evans and Member of the Senedd (MS) Rhianon Passmore have called for an urgent meeting with the Welsh Government's transport and economy minister Ken Skates over the plans.

Ms Passmore said: “This is a very premature decision at a time where BA needed to pause and reflect on the situation their workers’ already find themselves in.

“Many of those who work at the Blackwood site are currently furloughed, and the whole point of that is that you have a job to go back to.


“You can’t ‘consult’ a workforce that is furloughed. Some of the employees will not have the technological means to do that. It is very questionable for a company that has so many resources.

“The impact this will have on Islwyn is devastating. There are so many supply chains in the constituency that serve the site.”

Mr Evans slammed the timing of the announcement and said he is seeking an urgent meeting with the company.

"It is an absolute body blow, that could not have come at a worse time for the people who work at the Blackwood site," he said.

Plaid Cymru shadow minister for economy and transport Helen Mary Jones said the news is “deeply concerning”, and said questions need to be asked around “Covid-proofing companies”.

“The UK and Welsh Governments must respond to this news by protecting these workers, it is no fault of theirs that their jobs are on the line.

“This threat of a large-scale loss of jobs in Wales illustrates the benefit of establishing an emergency universal basic income.

“There needs to be a safety net in place for these workers, others like them, and for those who are slipping through the cracks when it comes to support.”