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easyJet could put flight safety at risk with their redundancy plan, says pilots    

Following the announcement that easyJet intends to make 727 pilots redundant, management have put forward further proposals which pilots say could undermine key flight safety principles.

easyJet management have told pilot reps that they intend to use ‘sickness’ as a key component in choosing who loses their job, which is completely unacceptable in a safety-critical industry where pilots are legally required not to go to work if they are unfit to do so. Retrospectively punishing these pilots for being sick or unfit to fly is outrageous and could significantly harm easyJet’s previously successful and well-regarded flight safety culture.

Brian Strutton, BALPA General Secretary, said: “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. 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 time frame 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?

“We have yet to see any justification for the scale of job losses that easyJet has proposed. We will continue to fight for every job and will resist any move to use the Covid crisis to undermine easyJet’s reputation as a decent employer.”