Journal: TWUKSection:
Title: Issue Date: 08/10/01
Author: Page Number: 5
Copyright: Other





Airlines, agencies and tour operators continue to make redundancies as events in the US leave the industry in turmoil

Crisis hits as axe falls on 600 bmi jobs

Report by LYDIAWILSON

Sir Michael: cannot rule out further job losses

All around: bmi’s cuts will be made from every division of the airline

BMI BRITISH midland is to axe over 10% of its workforce following a three-month cost-cutting review.

The airline says the cuts have also been fuelled by a drastic fall-off in business-class custom and slower demand for seats throughout bmi’s network since last month’s US attacks.

Eight of the airline’s 62 aircraft will be grounded as part of the cutbacks, which include plans to reduce capacity by 20% and a temporary freeze on route expansion.

Chairman Sir Michael Bishop explained: “Our intention is to operate lower capacity aircraft wherever possible and to maintain the present network. We will increase frequencies or capacity only when strategic opportunities occur.”

Bishop called the redundancies “regrettable”, but warned he could not rule out more job cuts if the crisis deepens.

“I am hopeful that because of the business decisions we have been taking for some time to reduce our cost base, we will not need to consider further losses,” he said. “But worldwide events continue to impact on the aviation industry and we will continue to review our situation.”

At present, 600 jobs will go out of a total workforce of 5,500. Cuts are to be made across every division and will include cabin crew, ground staff and administration workers. The Transport and General Workers Union, which represents 400 of bmi’s cabin crew, said it has requested an urgent meeting to discuss options other than redundancy with the airline, including job-sharing.

Tim Lyle, national secretary for the TGWU’s civil air transport division, said: “We want to be assured that job losses are not just a knee-jerk reaction to other redundancies being announced in the industry.”

Bmi has told employees it will consider applications for voluntary redundancy or unpaid leave.

&#42 KLM is to cut 2,500 jobs, put 12,000 workers on short-time and ask unions for permission to cut pay. The Dutch carrier will also cut worldwide capacity by 15% from October 28 in a bid to cut costs following the events of September 11.

A spokesman said planned cuts should only affect workers in Netherlands.