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Published on Thursday, June 11, 2020

Sadness as Virgin staff told they've lost their jobs

Virgin Atlantic has notified the majority of the 3,150 staff in roles earmarked for redundancy that they have now lost their jobs.

In early May, Virgin announced its plans to reshape and resize in order to 'position itself for the post-Covid-19 future'. This included reducing its staff by 3,150 across all functions.

There then followed a consultation period, working closely with the unions BALPA and Unite.

A Virgin spokesman told TravelMole the vast majority of those being made redundant have been told today (Thursday).

Virgin said: "On May 5, Virgin Atlantic announced plans to reshape its business to ensure that it is fit for the future, in response to the severe impact of Covid-19.

"Uncertainty around when customer demand will resume, coupled with unprecedented market conditions brought on by the pandemic, has severely reduced revenues for airlines around the world, and for Virgin Atlantic.

"Subsequently, it has been necessary for the airline to take decisive action to reduce costs, preserve cash and to protect as many jobs as possible.

"As part of these measures, regrettably we need to reshape and resize our business in line with customer demand, which means a planned reduction of approximately 3,150 jobs across all functions."

Unite officer for Virgin Atlantic Claire Simpson said: "This is a deeply sad time for our members at Virgin Atlantic, due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the impact it has had on the airline.

"Unite has sought to mitigate the number of staff who face losing their jobs and will continue to ensure that all affected workers are treated fairly.

"The workers who will ultimately be made redundant will leave the business in August."

Pilots' union BALPA said: "The consultations between BALPA and Virgin Atlantic over proposed job losses and changes to terms and conditions has been professional and constructive but has been overshadowed by the Government refusing to give an answer to the company's request for financial support.

"Sadly despite various mitigations that BALPA has negotiated there are still around 300 Virgin pilots who will potentially be compulsory redundant in September however nearly all of those will be part of a holding pool to return to Virgin as the airline recovers from the current recession over the next few years."

The reshaping plans announced in May included renaming Virgin Holidays to Virgin Atlantic Holidays to 'focus on one powerful brand' and to simplify the Virgin fleet, flying only wide-body, twin-engine aircraft from Heathrow and Manchester to the most popular destinations.

The plans also included a move away from Gatwick, although Virgin says it intends to retain its slot portfolio at Gatwick 'so it can return in line with customer demand'.

At the time, Virgin Atlantic CEO Shai Weiss said: "We have weathered many storms since our first flight 36 years ago, but none has been as devastating as Covid-19 and the associated loss of life and livelihood for so many."

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