Press Release – 23 March 2020

Joint press statement from Sarah Owen MP (Labour, Luton North) and Rachel Hopkins MP (Labour, Luton South) following a meeting today between the town’s MPs and easyJet about the implications of the outbreak of covid-19 on the company and its staff:

“Today, Rachel Hopkins and I met with easyJet (over the phone) after being approached by a number of people in Luton who were concerned that their working conditions and livelihoods were under threat. 

On Friday, we both welcomed the government’s announcement that up to 80% of salaries will be supported under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Now, we are both committed to seeking much firmer reassurances from easyJet that their cabin staff – many of whom are paid a basic rate of salary, and then supplemented by a per-flight payment – will be eligible for a payment based on a whole wage average of the last six months, rather than just their basic rate of pay. We are also seeking further assurances that no flight time regulations will be broken, even during this difficult period. 

We were grateful for assurances that staff currently self-isolating due to covid-19 are receiving full pay and we hope that this will continue. 

At a time when EasyJet staff are being threatened with unpaid leave due to the ongoing global public health crisis and when the company is seeking state support, we expressed our deep disappointment in recent reports of an £174 million dividend pay-out for shareholders. Simply put, if bosses can find money to give such large pay-outs, they should be able to find resources to support their workforce. It was confirmed to us that the dividend payments were made last week but we will continue to lobby that the conditions of staff come first for the company. We support and stand in solidarity with Unite the Union members in their ongoing negotiations with the firm. 

Protecting jobs and ensuring that workers are being paid must be the absolute priority in the coming days and weeks. We commit to doing all we can to protect the jobs and livelihoods of people in our town during this ongoing crisis. 

Both us and our staff teams remain available to offer help and support to people in Luton as the current situation develops. If any members of easyJet staff, or workers in the wider supply chain, would like us to make representations to airline bosses on their behalf, please do not hesitate to contact our offices.”

For the office of Sarah Owen MP, please contact sarah.owen.mp@parliament.uk

For the office of Rachel Hopkins MP, please contact rachel.hopkins.mp@parliament.uk