More than 130 jobs at Manchester airport have been threatened, with union members having to vote on possible proposals to save jobs through cuts in staff wages.
Around 138 jobs are at risk in the hub, adding to the 465 staff who were already made redundant last year due to the impact of Covid-19 on the aviation sector.
According to Manchester Evening News, Unite members will now vote on a proposal that could save jobs through the workforce by instead taking a pay cut, suspending the need for further job losses.
The proposal, drawn up by the union and hub bosses, would see staff move to a 20% cut under the government’s leave scheme if not needed to work, with the freedom to seek work elsewhere as well. .
During this time, those who would continue to work would receive 90% of their salary, regardless of their working time. This would increase to full pay for those working 85% or more of their regular hours.
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Lawrence Chapple-Gill, head of regional coordination for Unite, told MEN the proposal was a “real attempt by the airport and the union to save jobs and protect pay rates where possible” .
He said if members voted for it would bring some stability until the leave regime expires in September, when it is hoped there will be more security for the travel industry as a whole.
He added: “The deal would be that during the duration of the leave scheme, there would be no mandatory layoffs.
“The intention and certainly the hope is that by the end of September we can see these layoffs mitigated or avoided.”
He added: “We all want to protect jobs to the maximum and also try to protect wages. it’s up to the members to decide.
“The layoffs will hopefully be avoided – and certainly for the duration of the leave scheme.”
Staff had already suffered a 10% pay cut last year after Covid-19 restrictions caused passenger numbers to drop and left only one terminal operational.
But without a firm plan for the full return of international travel, the proposal on the table would see quarterly reviews of staff called to work and those continuing on leave, starting in April.
When there is no work available, staff would receive 80% of their salary under the government’s leave scheme. They would also be allowed to find work elsewhere.
Those who continued to work would receive 90% of their salary, regardless of the number of hours worked. This would increase to full pay for those working 85% or more of their regular hours.
This work would be allocated on the basis of a “fair share” based on rosters, skills and experience. It is understood that these wages would not fall below the national minimum wage.
A spokesperson for the Manchester Airports Group, which operates the hub with Stansted and East Midlands airports, described last year as “the most difficult in our history, with aviation being hit harder by Covid-19 than anything. other sector “.
He added : “ As a result, tens of thousands of people have unfortunately already lost their jobs across the industry.
“MAG has not been immune to these challenges and, having significantly reduced its size over the past year, we are currently consulting on a limited number of new layoffs at our three airports.
“Separately, we are discussing with our unions proposals to avoid further compulsory layoffs through new temporary pay and new working arrangements for the coming year.
“This reflects the fact that there remains some uncertainty as to the nature and timing of the resumption of international travel and how this will affect our operations.”
“If approved, these arrangements will allow colleagues to return to work at full pay as soon as the industry recovers.
“The overarching goal of these discussions is to protect jobs and deliver the best possible outcome for our people under the circumstances and we would like to thank our unions for their cooperation.
“As these discussions are ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”