A deal has been agreed to avoid compulsory job losses among pilots at airline easyJet, their union has announced.
The British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) said there had been a breakthrough in negotiations following months of talks with management. The union said 727 pilots were at risk of redundancy earlier this year, but 60 had now left voluntarily, while 1,500 have opted for part-time working.
Balpa general secretary Brian Strutton said it had been a “remarkable” achievement.
The union, which said its membership has grown during the virus crisis, had rejected a redundancy selection matrix that included sickness.We’ve had tough talks, but in the end we have come to a sensible and fair arrangement in light of the crisis the whole aviation sector is facing
A Balpa statement said: “There has been a huge community effort to do everything possible to reduce the need for compulsory measures which has resulted in 60 pilots leaving voluntarily and a further 1,500 opting for part-time work.”
Mr Strutton said: “This is a remarkable achievement which has only been possible because of three groups of people – the Balpa reps, easyJet management who have worked with us constructively during this process, but most of all the easyJet pilots themselves who have volunteered in record numbers for part-time work and voluntary redundancy to help save their colleagues’ jobs.” Captain Sean Casey, chairman of the easyJet Company Council, said: “I have been overwhelmed by the take up of part-time. Each pilot who has volunteered to work less has done so because he or she wants to help colleagues keep their jobs. This truly is a demonstration of our unity in easyJet.
“I want to pay tribute to our easyJet management colleagues who we’ve been working with throughout this process.
“We’ve had tough talks, but in the end we have come to a sensible and fair arrangement in light of the crisis the whole aviation sector is facing.“We have now secured a solid platform for both the airline and the pilots to benefit from the recovery we all hope to see in the next year.”
An easyJet spokesman said: “easyJet has worked constructively during the consultation with Balpa aiming to minimise compulsory redundancies despite the closure of three of our UK bases.
“We have worked closely with the union to find alternative options for pilots who were at risk of redundancy and as a result we are pleased to confirm that we were able to offer part-time and seasonal contracts as well as re-location to our other bases to all pilots from the closing bases, alongside accepting 60 requests for voluntary redundancy. “We are waiting to receive the last few signed contracts in the next couple of days and remain hopeful that this means that when the process is completed, there should be no need for compulsory redundancies.”