On Friday, the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) announced that it had reached a deal with budget carrier easyJet to avoid any involuntary furloughs. The deal, which the union says involved a “huge sacrifice” from the community, comes one day after the news that the UK is extending its Jobs Support Scheme.
Sixty pilots will leave voluntarily
After a breakthrough in negotiations and what BALPA calls a “huge sacrifice” from the community, no easyJet pilots will be given compulsory redundancy. Sixty pilots have offered to leave voluntarily, and 1,500 have opted for part-time work in order to save the jobs of their coworkers. This is a vast improvement from the 727 pilot positions at risk of redundancy in June.
“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,” Brian Strutton, General Secretary of BALPA said in a statement seen by Simple Flying.
All the pilots at the bases of Southend, Stansted, and Newcastle, which have been closed, will be offered positions in other places across the airline’s UK network.
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Uncertain, unfortunate reality
This agreement comes only a day after UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled a “Winter Economy Plan,” which includes a new Jobs Support Scheme. It may or may not have been a deciding factor.
Meanwhile, easyJet CEO Johan Lundgren has warned that there could still be adjustments to the workforce in the long-run. At this week’s World Aviation Festival, he stated that,
“We can’t rule out anything. We can’t say for certain that there will not be more actions that we need to take that will affect people across the whole of the company, because there’s so much uncertainty out there. And that is unfortunately a reality.”
Redundancies not avoided for BA
In July, BALPA negotiated a deal for British Airways pilots. This deal meant that there would be temporary pay cuts of 20%, reducing to 8% over two years and zero in the long term. However, in BA’s case, this was not enough to avoid redundancies, and compulsory layoffs were estimated at 270.
This was an improvement from the massive number of 1255 which the airline had flagged for, but, as Mr Sutton said at the time, still “bitterly disappointing.” Meanwhile, the union managed to persuade the carrier not to fire and rehire the rest of its pilots with worse terms.
JetBlue pilots are safe until May
Across the Atlantic, JetBlue and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) also reached an agreement in July. The exact terms of the agreement have not been disclosed, although supposedly they are related to neither pay rates nor work rules. Regardless of the exact conditions, the deal means that no JetBlue pilot will be made redundant “under any circumstances” until May 1st, 2021.
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