Eurostar is vowing to keep potential redundancies “to a minimum” as the train operator looks to cut its wages bill in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.
The company said it was planning to introduce reduced hours and part-time work “wherever possible” through 2021 to “protect as many jobs as possible”.
“The impact of Covid-19 has led to an unprecedented fall in demand across the travel industry,” said Eurostar in a statement.
“We are taking steps to protect Eurostar for the long term by reducing costs across the business, and are taking a considered approach to reducing our payroll costs, working closely with trade union partners.
“We are looking to introduce reduced hours and part-time working wherever possible throughout 2021 to protect as many jobs as possible and retain the knowledge, skills and experience of our people for the recovery, keeping any potential redundancy to a minimum.”
Unions TSSA and RMT have both called for the UK government to “intervene” to preserve jobs at Eurostar.
TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes added: “We will work constructively with Eurostar and ministers to protect our members’ jobs and the future of this vital service.
“Eurostar provides a green strategic link between Britain and our European neighbours. It’s absolutely crucial that these services are retained and once we come out the other side of this terrible pandemic, expanded so we can meet the challenges of climate change.”
RMT said Eurostar’s planned cutbacks “amount to a 20% reduction in costs with an impact on jobs and services”.
Senior assistant general secretary Mick Lynch said: “RMT is demanding government support to protect Eurostar jobs and services from the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic and to recognise the long-term importance to the British economy of these cross-channel transport services as we look to the future.
“Short-term cuts would have dire long-term consequences.”