Airbus warns its employees about EU 'Out' vote

Posted On: 
4th April 2016

Aerospace giant Airbus has written to its 15,000 UK employees warning of the risks from a vote to leave the European Union.

Airbus employs 15,000 people in the UK
PA Images

In a letter to its staff, the multinational company argued it makes “good economic” sense for the UK to remain a member of the bloc and added: "We simply don't know what 'out' looks like."

Airbus also insisted the European Union has “helped make the company the global success story it is today”.

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Last week a pro-Brexit campaign, Vote Leave, published the names of 250 business leaders who are in favour of the UK leaving the EU.

Airbus signed a pro-Remain letter published in the Times back in February, but it is the first time the leadership has decided to reach out to directly to its employees about the referendum debate.

In its correspondence, the firm highlights the benefits the free movement of capital and labour brings to its operations in Europe.

“As has been stressed publicly by our top management, this is an entirely UK issue – it is up to the British people to debate and make up their own minds as to whether or not they wish to stay in the EU,” the letter says.

“However it is also reasonable for us as a responsible UK leadership team to explain to you why we think it is important for us to stay. Should the British electorate have a different view then clearly we wouldn’t cease our activities in the UK, which are highly important and very prominent.

“However, our business model is entirely based on our ability to move products, people and ideas around Europe without any restriction and we do not believe leaving will increase the competitiveness of our British based operations.

“We all need to keep in the back of our minds that future investments depend very much on the economic environment in which the company operates.

“In fact we believe that the UK remaining active in reforming the EU can improve our position, and as a commercial business that operates in a globally competitive environment we need to maintain every competitive advantage in the UK we have.”

Airbus employs 15,000 people at 25 sites across the UK and is the largest commercial aerospace company operating in Britain.


Vote Leave published last week a list carrying the signatures of senior businesspeople in the UK backing Brexit.

Those on the list support a vote to leave the EU in a “personal capacity” and do not represent the position of their businesses.

The business leaders listed will form a new Business Council with John Longworth as its chairman, Vote Leave said.

Mr Longworth was suspended and then stepped down as the director-general of the British Chamber of Commerce last month, after making a speech setting out his support for Leave.

The new Business Council — part of the Vote Leave campaign — will put forward the position that British businesses would be better off outside the EU.

John Longworth said: "If we Vote Leave, liberated from the shackles of EU membership, jobs will be safer, Britain will be able to spend our money on our priorities and we can look forward to faster growth and greater prosperity in the future."

The campaign subsequently admitted it wrongly included two prominent businessmen in the document, including Carphone Warehouse co-founder David Ross and Phones 4u’s John Caudwell.