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Heathrow: Job Protection - the Impossible Job

One of the hardest task of running any business, in any field, is adapting to changing circumstances. In the ordinary course of events, the aim, and the hope, is that whatever the enterprise, things remain stable and secure in the first instance, then growth brings greater size and with it, employment. The Covid-19 outbreak around the world has however, turned this principle on its head and it has been especially noticeable in the airline industry.

But it is not only airlines that have suffered, with the result that they have all had to re-examine the size of their operations and with that, the number of people employed. Airports too have to do the same and like all airports, London Heathrow has had to do some soul-searching.

Commenting on the ongoing efforts to protect jobs at the airport, a Heathrow spokesperson said:

'We are in talks with our unions about the impact of COVID-19 on our business. These talks are in the early stages and we will continue to explore options – no decisions have been made. Our main priority is to protect jobs and we have put forward an initial proposal that we believe is fair, gives colleagues choice and reflects the severity of the situation we all face. Despite the trade unions recognising the need for change, they are not supportive of our initial proposal.

We believe the initial proposals put forward by the trade unions do not reflect the severity of the situation and ultimately will limit our ability to protect jobs. Our business has been hit hard by the pandemic stripping away 97 per cent of normal demand. And, while we have acted quickly to protect our business and made significant progress with cost cutting, we now need to go further. Our forecasts show that we’ll have nearly 64 per cent fewer passengers in 2020 alone and 2019 levels are not expected to return until after 2022. This means we must adapt to the new passenger numbers and change the way we work to become more flexible, agile and competitive so we are fit for the future.