The redundancy programme involving Swissport workers at Jersey Airport is ‘going under the radar’ and needs a rethink now that Covid-19 vaccines are on the horizon, Unite said today (December 4).
Swissport have already made more than half their 100-strong workforce redundant over the past year, with their operation in Jersey badly affected by the pandemic.
On Tuesday (December 1), a further 11 staff left the business, with more staff laid off temporarily, bringing the total number of employees down to a bare minimum.
Crucially, 11 is the most staff an employer can make redundant in a 30-day period, under Jersey law, without initiating formal “collective consultation” measures.
Alarmingly, Swissport has since informed Unite that a further 11 staff are to be put ‘at risk’ of redundancy, suggesting the company is taking an ‘under the radar’ approach to job losses.
Unite is today urging the Government of Jersey to liaise with Swissport to discuss further measures to maintain as many jobs as possible until the expected pick-up in air travel to the Channel Island in spring next year.
Unite regional officer Gareth Lowe said, “By making 11 staff redundant in December, and now proposing a further 11 staff are to go in the near future, Swissport seems to want to push through its redundancy programme ‘under the radar’ and we need greater transparency.
“The firm’s present proposals of compulsory redundancies envisage the current dire situation affecting aviation and tourism to run until the end of 2021,” he added.
“Whilst the company has put forward proposals to prevent further cuts, these are flimsy, without real commitment to review and restore pay levels, should passenger numbers at the airport begin to grow, as projected in 2021.
“Our members were left with no realistic financial option but to reject the proposals the business put on the table.
“Unite believes that with vaccines coming on stream in the next couple of months and the onset of warmer weather in the spring, air travel could pick up quite quickly in 2021,” Lowe continued.
“Once this happens, a far larger workforce will be needed at the airport.
“There is scope to greatly rein back the number of compulsory job losses. Unite is keen to work constructively with Swissport to achieve that goal, instead of entertaining sham proposals that simply do not offer workers the guarantees they need.”
By Barckley Sumner