Campaigners and workers at easyJet will hold protests tomorrow (Thursday 20 August) at Stansted and Southend airports following this week’s announcement that the company is closing its bases at both airports.

Easy Option Taken

Unite campaigners will unfurl a banner which reads “Easy Option Taken” in reaction to the company’s announcement this week confirming the closure of its bases at Southend and Stansted, as well as Newcastle, with flights ceasing on Tuesday 1 September.

When Thursday 20 August at 10:00.

Where: Princey roundabout, (next to Enterprise House) Bassingnbourn Road, Essex CM24 1QW

The Stansted demonstration will then be followed by a further protest at Southend Airport at 13:30. The location of the demonstration is: London Southend Airport, Eastwoodbury Crescent, Southend-on-Sea SS2 6YF.

easyJet’s decision to close its base at Stansted and Southend airports will result in the loss of 351 (220 Stansted and 131 Southend) cabin crew jobs, with pilots and engineers also being made redundant as a result of this decision.

The closure of the Southend base is a particular blow for Southend airport and raises questions about its long-term future, as it has already seen the Aer Lingus regional service operated by Stobart Air leave the airport.

Hardship and misery

Unite regional officer Lindsey Olliver said: “This was an extremely disappointing announcement by easyJet. These job losses 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.”

Shareholders dividends

Despite the dramatic reduction in passengers as a result of the pandemic, easyJet still went ahead with a dividend payment of £174 million to shareholders.

In addition to the job losses and base closures, Unite members are angry at how easyJet’s chief operating officer Peter Bellew has managed the airline including:

  • Misjudging the start of the Covid-19 crisis by criticising the “hype going on around the virus” and encouraging “business as usual”.
  • Attempting a ‘smash and grab’ of cabin crew pay, terms and conditions.
  • Trying to bypass easyJet’s recognised trade unions Unite and pilots' union BALPA by proposing “coronavirus co-operation agreements” directly to staff, who categorically rejected them. 

ENDS

Notes to editors:

easyJet base closures `a kick in the teeth' for employees, passengers and vital regional airports

easyJet staff to stage airport demonstrations after voting no confidence in chief operating officer

During the coronavirus crisis Unite is working to keep workers and the public safe, to defend jobs and to protect incomes.

For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.

Email: barckley.sumner@unitetheunion.org

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.