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Stansted protest: easyJet plans to cut 1,300 jobs and close airport hubs

PUBLISHED: 14:00 24 July 2020 | UPDATED: 14:42 24 July 2020

easyJet is currently consulting with staff on the job losses.  Picture: HELEN BEDDOWES

easyJet is currently consulting with staff on the job losses. Picture: HELEN BEDDOWES

HELEN BEDDOWES

Pilots, ground staff and cabin crew gathered outside Stansted airport to protest against proposed job cuts at easyJet this morning.

A protest asking for the furlough scheme to be extended for the aviation industry has received over 16,000 signatures.  Picture: CLAIRE LEESA protest asking for the furlough scheme to be extended for the aviation industry has received over 16,000 signatures. Picture: CLAIRE LEES

About 70 people turned out to the protest organised by Unite the Union after the budget airline planned to make staff redundant in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The airline is consulting with staff after it announced that 1,290 jobs are at risk across the country as the airline plans to close its hubs at Stansted, Newcastle and Southend.

A petition to the government asking for the aviation industry to have the furlough scheme extended until the industry has recovered from the pandemic has received more than 16,000 signatures – meaning it will receive a response from the government.

Around 70 people attended the protest in front of the terminal building at Stansted.  Picture: CLAIRE LEESAround 70 people attended the protest in front of the terminal building at Stansted. Picture: CLAIRE LEES

MORE: Petition to save easyJet jobs and keep Stansted hub open unites aviation industry

Claire Lees, a Unite organiser, said: “They’re coming up with a permanent solution for a temporary problem.

“Covid is not going to be around for years and years. They will be flying again. People want to go on holiday. People need to travel for business.

easyJet workers have protested against 1,290 proposed job cuts.  Picture: CLAIRE LEESeasyJet workers have protested against 1,290 proposed job cuts. Picture: CLAIRE LEES

“It just seems a very permanent decision when they don’t know what the future is going to hold.

“There’s a lot of support to keep Stansted an easyJet base.

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“These redundancies will not just affect easyJet they will affect other companies as well.

Protests have also taken place at Southend and Newcastle airports.  Picture: CLAIRE LEESProtests have also taken place at Southend and Newcastle airports. Picture: CLAIRE LEES

“Them not flying from Stansted will affect the security staff, the cleaners, the maintenance crew, the car park attendants – and then the surrounding areas as well.”

Earlier this week the union held demonstrations at Southend and Newcastle airports.

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An easyJet spokesman said: “easyJet is fully committed to working closely and constructively with Unite throughout the consultation process. We respect the right to a peaceful demonstration.

“We know this is a difficult time for our crew and are focused on working closely with the union in the interests of the long term health of the company, our people and to protect jobs.”

Union members also passed a vote of no confidence in easyJet’s chief operating officer, Peter Bellew, almost unanimously.

Lindsey Olliver, a regional officer with Unite, said: “Since Mr Bellew’s arrival at easyJet our members have become increasingly concerned by his actions. They genuinely fear for the longevity and reputation of easyJet with Mr Bellew in his current position. The airline’s crew wear their uniforms with pride, but they are losing faith in the company and feel undervalued and disrespected.

“During the pandemic easyJet has made liberal use of taxpayer funded support through the job retention scheme and a £600m loan as well as paying £174m in shareholder dividends. These redundancies will cause misery, add to the economic upheaval the country is experiencing and hurt regional connectivity.”


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