Pilots union Balpa has hailed a "breakthrough" in negotiations with easyJet which will mean none of the carrier’s 727 pilots who were facing losing their job will be subject to compulsory redundancy.
Balpa said a "huge community effort" had resulted in 60 pilots leaving the carrier voluntarily, while a further 1,500 have opted to work part-time.
Meanwhile, pilots who had been working at easyJet’s now closed Southend, Stansted and Newcastle bases will be offered jobs elsewhere across the airline’s UK network.
Balpa said its membership had gone from strength-to-strength during the Covid crisis, resulting in it twice rejecting easyJet’s coronavirus corporate agreement and a "redundancy selection matrix" which Balpa said included sickness.
The union said it subsequently saw a chance in easyJet’s stance. "We have been extremely pleased with the airline’s positive approach during negotiations which was, like ours, to reduce job losses to an absolute minimum while recognising the seriousness of the COVID-19 challenge to the air travel sector," said the union.
General Secretary Brian Strutton added: “This is a remarkable achievement, which has only been possible because of three groups of people: the Balpa reps; easyJet management, who have worked with us constructively during this process; but most of all, the easyJet pilots themselves who have volunteered in record numbers for part time work and voluntary redundancy to help save colleagues’ jobs.”
Captain Sean Casey, chair of Balpa’s easyJet Company Council, added: “Each pilot who has volunteered to work less has done so because he or she wants to help colleagues keep their jobs. This truly is a demonstration of our unity in easyJet.
“I want to pay tribute to our easyJet management colleagues who we’ve been working with throughout this process. We’ve had tough talks, but in the end we have come to a sensible and fair arrangement in light of the crisis the whole aviation sector is facing.
"We have now secured a solid platform for both the airline and the pilots to benefit from the recovery we all hope to see in the next year.”
An easyJet spokesperson said: "EasyJet has worked constructively during the consultation with Balpa aiming to minimise compulsory redundancies despite the closure of three of our UK bases.
"We have worked closely with the union to find alternative options for pilots who were at risk of redundancy and as a result we are pleased to confirm that we were able to offer part time and seasonal contracts as well as re-location to our other bases to all pilots from the closing bases, alongside accepting 60 requests for voluntary redundancy.
"We are waiting to receive the last few signed contracts in the next couple of days and remain hopeful that this means that when the process is completed there should be no need for any compulsory redundancies."