3,000 Swissport workers made redundant

The company has not accessed the furlough scheme, meaning thousands will face Christmas with no job

Swissport has made 3,000 workers redundant just before the Christmas period, after refusing to use the extended furlough scheme.

On October 31, the redundancies came into effect even though the GMB had asked for workers to be reinstated and put on furlough as an alternative.

The announcement came before the government had decided to extend the furlough scheme. The decision was apparently made based on flight scheduling predictions before a successful vaccine trial was announced.

GMB wrote to Swissport and urged them to put those who had been made redundant on the furlough scheme instead, but the company refused.

For those due to return to work with Swissport, the company have said that they will utilise the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). Unfortunately, those who have been made redundant before the Christmas period will be unable to access this service.

“As the CJRS has been extended to protect viable jobs, unfortunately we cannot make use of the CJRS in the case of the confirmed circa 2,020 compulsory redundancies,” said a Swissport spokesperson. “Sadly we know the level of flight volumes necessary to make these jobs viable doesn’t exist right now. We are facing several years of difficult recovery and we must focus on the jobs we have managed to mitigate in order to remain a stable and reliable partner.”

The aviation service said they did not want to adopt the extended furlough scheme due to the lack of clarity regarding the initiative and the delayed announcement.

“This is a devastating blow for thousands of our members,” said Nadine Houghton, GMB National Officer. “Some of the blame must lie with the government for ignoring the needs of the economy before making a screeching U-turn at the last minute.

“But ultimately thousands are now facing the prospect of a joyless Christmas with no job thanks to Swissport’s intractable attitude.”