Unite has slammed Blue Handling at Stansted, which provides services to Ryanair, of cruelly sacking over a hundred workers when they could have used the government’s job retention scheme instead.
Blue Handling was set up by Ryanair and OmniServ in February 2019 to provide ground services to Ryanair at Stansted. OmniServ became ABM Aviation UK Limited on 23 January 2020. The company provides services including, check-in, baggage handling, and runway services.
When Blue Handling was formed Chris Hughes, of Ryanair, said: “We wanted to win the hearts and minds of all employees, old and new, and we did that by delivering an extensive staff engagement programme that really sold them on the brand and got them feeling pride and passion again.”
In March the company wrote to 110 staff to terminate their contracts and a second letter was sent out confirming they would not be furloughed.
Pat Harrington, General Secretary of Solidarity union, commented: "I don't think that the 110 staff so callously treated will think their pride and passion have been reciprocated by Blue Handling now. They will feel betrayed."
Unite regional officer Mark Barter said: “Unite has been working with the company to find ways to minimise any potential costs. The union has made a number of proposals but their employer ABM has decided not to do the right thing for their former employees.
“Instead of using the government’s job retention scheme to furlough the workers, management callously sacked staff in the middle of a pandemic to minimise costs, causing their families extreme distress. This decision goes completely against the purpose of the Government’s Job Retention Scheme.
“The Stansted branch of Unite is demanding that Blue Handling rehire these workers and take advantage of the government’s scheme without delay. Our momentum at grassroots level to oppose ABM’s decision is growing considerably.
“This demonstrates why the government needs to change the law so that employees can claim unfair dismissal from day one rather than having to suffer insecurity and exploitation for two years before having any employment protection.”