Protests planned over closure of easyJet bases

Workers are to stage protests over a decision by easyJet to close a number of UK bases.

Demonstrations will be held on Thursday at Stansted and Southend airports, where the airline will cease operations from the end of the month, as well as at Newcastle.

Unite regional officer Lindsey Olliver said job losses caused by the announcement will bring “hardship and misery” to cabin crew and local communities.

“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.

“The Chancellor promised sector support for aviation in March and that still has not been delivered.

“As a minimum, a form of the job retention scheme must be retained to protect sectors such as aviation, which have been most affected by the pandemic.

“If the Government fails to act, then an ever-growing number of aviation workers face needlessly losing their jobs.”

Johan Lundgren, chief executive of easyJet, said: “We have had to take the very difficult decision to close three UK bases as a result of the unprecedented impact of the pandemic and related travel restrictions, compounded by quarantine measures in the UK which is impacting demand for travel.

“Working closely with our employee representatives, I am pleased that 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 like part-time and seasonal contracts, base transfers and unpaid leave which we expect to result in reducing the number of job losses overall.

“We would like to reassure customers due to fly from these airports that we are now contacting anyone whose flight is affected with clear advice on their options which include rerouting via alternative airports or receiving a full refund.

“I know this is a very difficult time for our pilots and crew and I would like to thank them for their continued professionalism.”