Unite the union, which represents thousands of workers at easyJet, has begun a ballot of no confidence in the company’s Chief Operating Officer Peter Bellew.

The ballot of Unite’s membership at easyJet is in direct response to Mr Bellew’s performance during the Covid-19 pandemic. The company is proposing to make around 1,290 cabin crew redundant as well as close its regional bases in Newcastle, Stansted and Southend.

Workers are angry

Unite's members are angry that while their jobs and incomes at the airline are under attack, easyJet paid £174 million in dividends to shareholders at the start of the Covid-19 crisis.

The company has also secured a government funded load of £600 million yet is pressing on with a large-scale cuts and closure programme.

Long list of concerns

In addition to the proposed job losses and base closures, Unite members are angry at how Mr Bellew, who has recently arrived at easyJet from Ryanair:

  • Misjudged the start of the Covid-19 crisis by criticising the “hype going on around the virus” and encouraging “business as usual”.
  • Attempted a ‘smash and grab’ of Cabin Crew pay, terms and conditions.
  • Tried 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. 

Not taken lightly

Regional officer for Unite Lindsey Olliver said: “Initiating a vote of no confidence in a company’s chief operating officer is not something Unite undertakes lightly but the strength of feeling among our members is overwhelming.

“Our members are angered by the scope of the company’s proposals and the far-reaching impact this will have, not just on the individuals affected but on local communities whose livelihoods rely on work created by easyJet’s continued operation in and out of the bases earmarked for closure.

“There is deep concern that the base closures have been predetermined.

 “Clearly the responsibility for the future size and scope of the operation fall within Peter Bellew’s remit and these decisions appear to be driven by him.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

easyJet jobs announcement ‘massive blow’ and highlights the need for government action

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.