Global airline logistics company Menzies Aviation has announced over 300 workers in Scotland have been put on notice for imminent redundancy, including more than half of their workforce servicing Glasgow Airport.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and resulting slowdown of the international aviation industry has seen Menzies already cut more than 17,500 jobs worldwide.
The company has now announced that 160 Menzies Aviation workers from Glasgow Airport and a further 150 from Edinburgh Airport now face imminent redundancies at the end of a 45-day consultation process, a decision that the Scottish labour union Unite has argued was unnecessary amid ongoing negotiations with the UK government for an extension of the Job Retention Scheme.
Unite regional industrial officer Pat Mcilvogue, who represents the workers at Glasgow Airport, stated that the union is “deeply frustrated and angry” that the aviation logistics company has chosen to “forge ahead with this announcement” of redundancies, which it has deemed a “deliberate choice” and largely avoidable.
“We are deeply frustrated and angry that despite the company calling for the job retention scheme to be extended so that job losses could be avoided they have still forged ahead with this announcement,” Mcilvogue said.
“Unite fully understands the situation facing the civil aviation industry, which is why we have been calling for a co-ordinated national response so that we can safeguard thousands of Scottish jobs.
“However, let us be clear, these job losses do not need to happen and this is a deliberate choice by Menzies Aviation to slash its workforce.”
Sandy Smart, the regional industrial officer for Edinburgh Airport, stated that the announcement was “bitter news” for the industry, and accused the company of ignoring calls to keep utilising the UK government job retention scheme.
Meanwhile, Menzies Aviation chief executive Giles Wilson claims the company had “no choice” but to reduce its workforce across the UK and Ireland, in anticipation of dwindling demand throughout winter “and well into 2021”.
“It is with great sadness we have taken the difficult decision to enter into consultation with our employees and unions to reduce the size of our airport teams in the UK and Ireland,” Wilson said.
“This has been the most challenging period the UK aviation sector has ever seen and whilst a small number of flights have started operating again, we do not expect volumes to return to pre-COVID-19 levels in the near future.”
He continued, “We’re left with no choice therefore but to take action to match our workforce to the volumes we anticipate through the winter and well into 2021 to ensure Menzies is sustainable now and fit for the future.”
Wilson acknowledged the announcement will have a “significant impact” on those who have been affected and pledged to “do everything” to minimise job losses across its network.