DWP chief Therese Coffey has suggested that sacked cabin crew should go work in care homes. She said: it might not be their ‘dream job’ but it could be ‘very useful’ as thousands of aviation workers face an uncertain future she has prompted fury by suggesting sacked cabin crew can retrain as carers.
Therese Coffey claimed thousands of airline staff made redundant after planes were grounded and international travel ground to a halt in the coronavirus crisis should switch careers.
She told The Spectator: “I want to encourage them to perhaps go into teaching or go to college and to be the people who train the next lot of people who are going to do those jobs.” She added: “How do we help draw out of them the transferable skills that they have, and that could be working in social care?
“It may not be their dream job for the rest of their lives. “But it may well be very useful: They get more money coming in than if they’re on benefits and it can also provide something really valuable and rewarding.” and continued “I’m sure other cabin crew as well who are male could make equally good nurses. It’s just whether or not people want that as a complete lifestyle change.”
Unite national officer for civil air transport Oliver Richardson said: “Therese Coffey’s comments are jaw dropping in their crassness.
“They are as ill-informed as they are insensitive and show how out of touch government is.
“She is the minister responsible for work at a time when, tens of thousands of aviation workers are needlessly losing their jobs as a direct results of the Government washing its hands of the aviation industry, seven months after the chancellor promised assistance action and her solution is that they should retrain as carers
“Coffey clearly has no idea of the worries people face when work is so insecure. They need help and stability from government, not half-baked musings from ministers who seem to confirm their complete lack of understanding about the real world every time they open their mouths. “Aviation workers throughout the UK who are facing losing their jobs will be both shocked and angry at these ludicrous comments.”
Ministers are desperate for British workers to enter the care sector as the points-based immigration system looms from January 1. The new system makes it more difficult for foreigners to fill vacancies in the industry.
It is understood the majority of social care workers won’t pass the basic test for a skilled worker because their skill level is RQF1, not RQF3. Many also earn less than the absolute minimum salary threshold of £20,480 – let alone the usual minimum of £25,600.
Yesterday it emerged almost 900 jobs are under threat at three airports under plans to cut costs as a result of the virus crisis. Proposals by the Manchester Airport Group (MAG) could mean the loss of 465 roles at Manchester Airport, 376 jobs at London Stansted and 51 posts at East Midlands Airport, along with adjustments to roster patterns and other employment measures.
Unite said full-time posts under threat included security officers, engineers, customer service staff, bus drivers and car park attendants. Meanwhile hospitality chiefs have warned pubs, clubs and restaurants will lose “far” more than half a million jobs by Christmas.
The hospitality industry still has 900,000 staff on full furlough and 400,000 on part-time furlough – a scheme which ends on October 31. Chancellor Rishi Sunak is said to be considering a new local furlough scheme for workers in areas to be hit by the hardest local lockdowns – which could include Newcastle and Manchester.