Unite has described the announcement that easyJet is intending to make 1,290 cabin crew redundant and close its hubs at Newcastle, Stansted and Southend airports in their entirety as yet another ‘massive blow’ for this battered industry.
Major job losses
This latest announcement of major job losses in aviation again highlights the failure of the government to provide urgently needed specific support to protect jobs and airports. This is in stark contrast to many other major countries which have provided multi-billion pound support packages for their aviation industries including France, Germany, Spain and the United States.
The union is also questioning easyJet's decision to make workers redundant given that the company has received a £600 million loan from the government and has also recently paid out £174 million as a dividend to shareholders.
Unite National Officer for Civil Aviation, Oliver Richardson, said: “This is yet another massive blow to the aviation industry and our thoughts are with workers who face losing their jobs through no fault of their own.
“There is no need for this announcement at this time, especially since easyJet has taken a multi-million pounds government loan which it ought to be putting to use defending UK jobs.
“This is a company with its priorities all wrong. It has paid a multi-million dividend to its shareholders, borrowed hundred of millions from the government to buy new aircraft and has fully utilised the jobs retention scheme. It absolutely should not be allowed to make huge redundancies a few weeks later.
“The latest announcement further demonstrates why it is absolutely essential that the government extends its job retention scheme for the aviation sector, which has been one of the industries worst hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
"We are now more than three months on since the Chancellor promised support for UK aviation.
“The government’s ongoing failure to provide such support is directly resulting in huge job losses throughout the industry and is threatening the viability of airlines and airports alike.
“The aviation industry is essential to the future prosperity of the UK’s economy and it is essential that the UK government, steps up to the plate and provides specific support in line with other nations.”
Blueprint for industry
Unite has produced a blueprint of how the government should intervene across the entire aviation sector including airlines and airports to protect the jobs and conditions of workers. Such loans would come with strict strings attached regarding executive pay, corporate governance and requiring stringent environmental standards to be adopted to radically reduce the industry’s carbon footprint.