RYANAIR is planning to make 3,000, 15% of its workers in Europe, redundant and is also planning 20% pay cuts for employees.
Unite national officer for aviation Oliver Richardson said: ‘This is another premature announcement, especially while the government’s job retention scheme remains fully up and running.
‘Ryanair has significant cash reserves and is in a better place than many airlines to cope with the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has created.
‘Ryanair has agreed to consult on its proposals with Unite next week and the union will be arguing that this announcement should be reversed.
‘The statement by Ryanair, which follows hot on the heels of the British Airways announcement, further underlines why it is absolutely imperative that the UK works with all relevant stakeholders to provide long-term financial assistance for the aviation sector.
‘If the government fails to provide such assistance, which is already being offered by other European countries to their airlines, then the UK aviation sector faces a very bleak future.’
Unite has created a blueprint outlining the support that the government must provide to ensure that the UK maintains a viable aviation sector in a post COVID-19 pandemic world.
BALPA General Secretary Brian Strutton commented: ‘There has been no warning or consultation by Ryanair about the 3000 potential job losses and this is miserable news for pilots and staff who have taken pay cuts under the Government job retention scheme.
‘Ryanair seems to have done a u-turn on its ability to weather the COVID storm.
‘Aviation workers are now facing a tsunami of job losses. The U.K. Government has to stop daydreaming and keep to the promise made by the Chancellor on 17 March to help airlines or this industry, vital to the U.K. economy, will be devastated.’
Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary said yesterday that it will take up to six months to refund passengers for flights cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
He told the BBC the airline was struggling to process a backlog of 25 million refunds with reduced staff.
O’Leary told the BBC that the planned cuts were “the minimum that we need just to survive the next 12 months”.
He said that if a corinovirus vaccine was not found, ‘we may have to announce more cuts and deeper cuts in future’.
The restructuring could involve closing some UK regional hubs, Mr O’Leary said, but he would not say which ones were at risk.
He said Ryanair hoped to announce details of job losses and pay cuts by 1 July.
Ryanair said it expected to report a net loss of more than £85 million for the first three months of the year, with further losses in the second quarter.
Ryanair admitted it had entered the coronavirus crisis with reserves of almost £4bn in cash and continued to ‘actively manage’ those resources in order to survive the pandemic.
O’Leary described airlines such as Lufthansa, Air France and Alitalia as ‘subsidy junkies running around Europe hoovering up state aid’.
- London’s Heathrow airport, normally the busiest in Europe, has said it expects passenger numbers to have fallen 97% in April as demand slumped.
Numbers fell 18.8% to 14.6 million during the first three months of the year, the airport said.
All Trades Unions Alliance secretary Dave Wiltshire told News Line yesterday’ ‘The only way for workers to resolve this crisis is to force their leaders to call a general strike to defend jobs by bringing down the Tories and bringing in a workers government, that will nationalise the aircraft industry and the airlines without compensation.