Low-cost carrier Easyjet (U2/EZY) is to begin a consultation with staff as it prepares to cut up to 4,500 staff from its workforce.
The airline was recently given a £600m loan by the UK Government to help it survive the Coronavirus Pandemic but now says it needs to make the cuts as the industry is not expected to recover until at least 2023.
Easyjet will be making the cuts primarily as it is reducing the size of its fleet meaning that the majority of jobs affected could be pilots and cabin crew.
Chief Executive Officer of Easyjet, Johan Lundgren said that the although the airline will shortly resume flying he expected it to build slowly saying “Against this backdrop, we are planning to reduce the size of our fleet and to optimise the network and our bases.
“As a result, we anticipate reducing staff numbers by up to 30% across the business and we will continue to remove cost and non-critical expenditure at every level. We will be launching an employee consultation over the coming days.
“We want to ensure that we emerge from the pandemic an even more competitive business than before so that easyJet can thrive in the future.”
Easyjet is due to resume a limited flight schedule of mainly domestic flights from 15th June.
BALPA General Secretary, Brian Strutton said: “Easyjet staff will be shocked at the scale of this announcement and only 2 days ago staff got a ‘good news’ message from their boss with no mention of job losses, so this is a real kick in the teeth. Those staff have taken pay cuts to keep the airline afloat and this is the treatment they get in return.
“Easyjet has not discussed its plans with BALPA so we will wait and see what impact there will be in the UK. But given easyJet is a British company, the UK is its strongest market and it has had hundreds of millions in support from the UK taxpayer, I can safely say that we will need a lot of convincing that Easyjet needs to make such dramatic cuts. Indeed, Easyjet’s own projections, though on the pessimistic side, point to recovery by 2023, so this is a temporary problem that doesn’t need this ill-considered knee-jerk reaction.”