After warning that more than 700 pilots could lose their jobs, easyJet has struck a deal with their union that appears to involves no compulsory job redundancies.
In May easyJet warned that thousands of staff faced redundancy, with 727 pilots at risk of losing their jobs.
Much of the fleet is grounded and the carrier is cancelling hundreds of flights each day.
The easyJet bases at Southend, Stansted, and Newcastle have been closed.
But the British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa) now says a “huge community sacrifice” has enabled compulsory redundancies to be avoided.
Negotiations between the pilots’ union and the airline were heated, with easyJet wanting to include the sickness record of flight crew in deciding redundancies.
Balpa said: “Since these challenges, the company has engaged more positively.”
Sixty flight crew have taken voluntary redundancy and a further 1,500 have opted for part-time employment. Pilots working at the closed bases have been transferred elsewhere.
Brian Strutton, the Balpa general secretary, said: “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 their colleagues’ jobs.”
The airline has indicated that not everything is settled. An easyJet spokesperson told The Independent: “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.
“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.”
Captain Sean Casey, chairman of the Balpa easyJet company council, said: “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.
“I have been overwhelmed by the take-up of part time positions.
“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.”
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