Protest held at London Stanted airport as easyJet shuts its base
- Credit: Unite (union)
Protestors unfurled a banner at Stansted airport which read “easy option taken” following the announcement that easyJet is closing its base there at the end of this month, with the loss of 220 jobs.
The company is also shutting bases at Southend and Newcastle.
Some flights from London Stansted to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Belfast and Amsterdam will continue to operate.
Unite the Union said they were unhappy with the move, and noted that easyJet still went ahead with a dividend payment of £174 million to shareholders.
Unite regional officer Lindsey Olliver said: “These job losses will bring hardship and misery to cabin crew and local communities.
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“This is a cruel blow for the passengers of these regional airports as they are vital for regional connectivity.
“The loyal and dedicated workers at easyJet are the innocent victims of the company’s desire to make cuts to boost profits but also of the government’s failure to provide sector specific support to the aviation sector.”
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BALPA, which represents the airline’s pilots, said easyJet had shut down formal redundancy talks aimed at mitigating the need for compulsory redundancies.
Brian Strutton, BALPA General Secretary, said: “We have put forward tough measures such as part-time and part-year working which would have significantly reduced the need for compulsory redundancies. Rather than considering these proposals easyJet have walked away.”
easyJet said they had a legal obligation to pay the dividend after a resolution was passed at its February AGM and the dividend was paid in March.
Johan Lundgren, easyJet CEO, said: “We have had to take the very difficult decision to close our Stansted base as a result of the unprecedented impact of the pandemic and related travel restrictions, compounded by quarantine measures in the UK which are impacting demand for travel.
“We have been able to identify ways to significantly reduce the number of proposed compulsory redundancies through providing enhanced voluntary redundancy packages for all UK crew alongside additional options including base transfers where possible with the aim of reducing the number of job losses overall.”
They are contacting customers who were due to fly. The International Air Transport Association thinks that passenger demand will not reach 2019 levels until 2024.
Jet2 has announced plans to make 102 pilots redundant across most of its bases. Jet2 is based at Leeds-Bradford airport and one of its crew bases is at London Stansted.