The boss of Airbus has warned staff of compulsory lay-offs as the first staff will start leaving UK plants in the coming weeks.
This summer Airbus announced 1,435 jobs are at risk at the 6,000 employee Broughton wing plant with 295 under threat at Filton, near Bristol.
Up to now there have been hopes that all the cuts would come through voluntary redundancies and Unite has called on UK Government for ongoing support to minimise job cuts.
But Chief Executive Guillaume Faury has now written to staff to say “It’s unlikely that voluntary departures will be enough”.
He added: “Unfortunately, the recovery in airline traffic over the summer period has not been at the level the industry was counting on.
“We must now prepare for a crisis that will probably be even deeper and longer than the previous scenarios suggested.”
Workers will start to depart from the Broughton site shortly.
A spokesman for Airbus Broughton said: “We can confirm some Broughton employees who applied to leave the company voluntarily will start to depart the company soon; however, voluntary release is only one part of our overall Adaptation Plan activity.
“It would be premature to speculate on what the other elements of our plan may deliver over the coming months.
“In addition, we cannot forget the consultation process is ongoing. We remain in constant dialogue with our social partners as we work to implement our full COVID-19 adaptation plan.”
Unite said that blue collar production employees who applied for voluntary release have been told that they have been accepted as the volunteers were lower than required.
They said white collar volunteers are oversubscribed so were going through a clearing house process and should be told at the end of the month.
A spokesman added: “We are looking at all options but a shorter working week will be instrumental in saving jobs and avoiding compulsory redundancies.”
They said they should be in a position to bring a proposal to members to ballot on in November.
They added: “Consultation is still ongoing, we are fully committed to explore every opportunity available and will do everything possible to avoid compulsory redundancies on the site.
“Unite reps were in Westminster on Wednesday 8th September for the launch of #SOS4JOBS our Unite National and sector specific campaign to support members post October when the Government furlough scheme comes to an end.
“The campaign was very well supported by Labour MP’s and we are demanding that Boris Johnson supports manufacturing through this crisis. We all must continue to lobby MP’s for support and not put our highly skilled jobs at risk.”