Stansted protest: easyJet plans to cut 1,300 jobs and close airport hubs
- Credit: HELEN BEDDOWES
Pilots, ground staff and cabin crew gathered outside Stansted airport to protest against proposed job cuts at easyJet this morning.
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.
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.
“It just seems a very permanent decision when they don’t know what the future is going to hold.
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“There’s a lot of support to keep Stansted an easyJet base.
“These redundancies will not just affect easyJet they will affect other companies as well.
“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.
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.”