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727 easyJet pilots jobs at risk of redundancy as airline proposes closing bases at three UK airports

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BALPA, the trade union representing its UK-based pilots, says that easyJet has today informed them that 727 of their pilots are at risk of redundancy.

In addition, the airline is also proposing to completely close its bases at Stansted, Southend and Newcastle airports.

The potential job loss would see almost 1-in3 easyJet pilots lose their jobs in the UK.

 In November 2019 easyJet acquired Thomas Cook’s slots at Gatwick Airport (12 summer slot pairs and 8 winter slot pairs) and Bristol Airport (6 summer slot pairs and one winter slot pair) for £36 million.

Brian Strutton, BALPA General Secretary, said:

“We know that aviation is in the midst of the COVID crisis and we had been expecting easyJet to make an announcement of temporary measures to help the airline through to recovery.

“But this seems an excessive over-reaction and easyJet won’t find a supply of pilots waiting to come back when the recovery takes place over the next two years. easyJet paid £174m out to shareholders, got agreements to furlough staff to protect cash, got £600m from the Government, has boasted of having £2.4bn in liquidity, and ticket sales are going through the roof so fast they cannot get pilots back off furlough quickly enough – so why the panic? It doesn’t add up. We are meeting easyJet today and we will be fighting to save every single job.

“This is more evidence that aviation in the U.K. is caught in a death spiral of despair and individual airlines are flailing around without direction. BALPA repeats its call for Government to step in, provide a strategy and back a moratorium on job losses while all stakeholders sort out an holistic way forward for the whole aviation sector.”

Gatwick

‘Devastating news’ reaction as airport ground handler Swissport, which serves Gatwick, cuts over 4,500 jobs

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Over 4,500 jobs are to be lost at airport ground handling firm Swissport.

Staff were told that 4,556 jobs are to be cut, more than half of its 8,500 UK workforce.

The company which supplies and manages baggage handlers and check-in workers at airports across the UK including Gatwick told staff via their chief executive that they had never seen anything like COVID-19 before and whilst they had survived problems in the past, this time it was different.

Unions Unite and GMB have instantly called on government to announce bespoke financial package to save the beleaguered aviation industry.

Unite and the GMB the two union’s representing Swissport workers, described the company’s decision to cut at least 4,556 jobs as ‘devastating news’.

Swissport is the country’s largest ground handler; handling flights coming into nearly every regional airport across the UK. It provides ground handling services to many major airlines, including ticketing and baggage handling. 

In light of the announcement, the unions have renewed calls for a bespoke financial package from the UK government to support the aviation industry and save thousands of jobs as the economy continues to reopen.  

Oliver Richardson, Unite national officer, said: 

We can’t wait any longer, the UK Government needs to urgently intervene with a bespoke financial package and an extension of the 80 per cent furlough scheme for the aviation industry. 

“Speed is of the essence if the government is to save thousands of aviation jobs and livelihoods. It’s not too late.”

Nadine Houghton GMB National Officer said:

“This is devastating news. At least 4,000 workers – and possibly many more – will lose jobs which are essential to regional economies. 

“With Swissport now considering job cuts on this scale we have deep concerns about the viability of many of our regional airports and the benefits for regional connectivity that they bring.”

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