Unite the Union

Unite the Union

January 11, 2008 19:01 ET

Helicopters Returning to the Front Line at Risk Say Unite

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Jan. 12, 2008) -

Embargoed until 00.01 12 January 2008

Attention: News, Industrial and Defence Correspondents

Unite, Britain's biggest private sector union, has written to James Arbuthnot MP, Chairman of the Commons Defence Select Committee requesting an investigation into the possible sale of DARA's rotary wing and components (RW&C) business to Vector Aerospace.

Unite believes that if the sale goes ahead it could have severe implications for helicopter support capability in the UK at a time when the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq are placing an unprecedented strain on the fleet in the field.

Our members are reporting that the aircraft returning from the frontline are suffering massive damage in the field and the workforce at DARA are working flat out to keep the aircraft flying. The Union believes that the skills and experience of the DARA workforce are a critical strategic asset, vital for the nation's defence.

The union believes the business case for the sale is fundamentally flawed. In the event that DARA staff are transferred to Vector Aerospace there are no guarantees their jobs will be secure once the legacy MOD platform work won by Vector runs down. There is no evidence that commercial work will be won to keep these highly skilled workers employed.

DARA workforces at Almondbank and Fleetlands are completely opposed to the sale and wish to remain within the MoD. Any sale would result in a period of instability and unrest. The unions believe the RW&C business should remain as part of the MoD within the new Defence Support Group enabling the MoD to retain strategic capability for helicopter support.

Unite, national officer, Ian Waddell says,

"The unions at DARA are demanding an investigation into the sale of an asset which is vital to the nations defence to a foreign private company which is untried and untested.

We believe there is too much risk in selling this business to a private sector, profit driven organisation. The sale could have severe implications on the aircraft returning to the front line in Iraq and Afghanistan. The DARA workforce with their skills and commitment must remain within the MoD. They are a vital asset to the nations defence."

Contact Information

  • Ciaran Naidoo
    07768 931 315