The press release was direct. “In the United Kingdom, budget carrier EasyJet grounded its fleet of 344 planes and has no clear idea when it might resume flights” the company said. The company runs a significant number of flights from Bristol and there are quite a few Easyjet staff based out of Bristol living in Somerset
In a message to customer contacts the company added that it would lay off its 4,000 UK-based cabin crew for two months. This means they will not work from April 1. However the company will give them 80 percent of their average pay under the state funded job retention scheme.
In a perfect piece of corporatespeak company CEO, Johan Lundgren CEO, explains “our number one priority being the safety and wellbeing of customers and crew.”
However having checked with the Easyjet press team, that concern does not extend to topping up the 80%. All companies are encouraged to pay the 20% balance to top up salaries of staff to their normal level. However in this instance the company advises it will not be adding to the amount of government funding to pay its employees.
This may well be sensible while the company is in survival mode. It has no income from its main business and no prospect of any for the next couple of months.
The question that follows is this. Will directors and senior managers follow suit. In fairness we should note that when he took over in January, Johan Lundgren, took a voluntary £34,000 pay cut to match the salary of his (female) predecessor, Carolyn McCall.
But with the workforce reduced to 80-% salaries, now would be a good time for board members to follow suit.