EasyJet is accused of using pilots’ sickness records to decide who to sack after airline announced 4,500 job cuts
- EasyJet is set to make 727 pilots redundant due to the coronavirus crisis
- The pilots’ union says EasyJet will use sick leave to help determine who they cull
- The union criticised this decision-making policy branding it a flight safety risk
- EasyJet confirmed that absence could be used as a factor following initial talks
EasyJet has been accused of risking flight safety by making pilots redundant based on their sickness records.
According to the British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa), the airline told pilots that it will be looking at the number of sick days taken by each employee in their decision-making as they prepare to cut their workforce by 30 per cent.
EasyJet is set to make 4,500 job cuts, a total which includes 727 pilots, due to the collapse in air travel caused by the coronavirus crisis.
EasyJet has been accused of preparing to make pilots redundant based on their sickness record as the airline prepares to cut 4,500 jobs
Balpa general secretary Brian Strutton has slammed this policy, saying: ‘Flight safety is built on a culture of openness and not fear of repercussions.
‘This is a well understood and fundamental tenet for everyone involved in ensuring our skies are safe.
‘It is unnecessary and wrong that easyJet is intending to use sickness as a stick to beat its safety-critical staff.’
The Luton-based airline has 15,000 full-time staff, including 8,000 based in the UK, and is following the likes of British Airways and Ryanair by making wide-scale redundancies due to the global pandemic.
Around 727 pilots could be made redundant due to the lack of air travel caused by the coronavirus crisis, with the pilots’ union stating that the amount of sick leave is a ‘key component’ in EasyJet’s decision-making
Mr Strutton revealed that using sick days as a ‘key component’ is a hypocritical move by EasyJet as they invited pilots to take leave out in order to improve safety measures.
He added: ‘EasyJet has in the past rightly encouraged pilots to report in sick or fatigued if they are unfit to fly – that is in everyone’s best interest.
‘Now to turn around and say that doing the right thing means you may lose your job could have a chilling effect on the safety culture in easyJet from now on.
‘Not only that, but the timeframe easyJet intend to use includes the early coronavirus period when some people were getting sick or having to shield themselves and their families. Should these people be punished by losing their jobs too?’
British Airline Pilots’ Association general secretary Brian Strutton has branded this policy as ‘unacceptable’ and ‘wrong’ and is a flight safety risk
EasyJet have denied that sick leave is a ‘key component’ but did confirm that absence is a factor in their decision-making surrounding redundancies
An EasyJet spokesperson has denied that sick leave is a ‘key component’ in deciding the redundancies, but did confirm that absence from duty is being considered as a determining factor in proposals put to Balpa.
A statement read: ‘EasyJet is fully committed to working closely and constructively with Balpa throughout the consultation process.
‘We have put forward initial proposals for discussion as our talks are at an early stage. We would never put forward proposals which would compromise safety as we have an industry-leading safety culture, as Balpa acknowledges.
‘Safety is our number one priority and we are focused on doing what is right for the long-term health of the company and our people so we can protect jobs going forward.’