Southwest workers on vacation haven’t received a new round of government support
Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) reportedly sent leave notices to 42 parts inventory officers, setting up what could be the first involuntary job cuts in the airline’s 49-year history. While the notice affects only a small number of workers, the airline is likely hoping the message will reverberate throughout the company.
Airlines companies are scrambling to cut costs as travel demand has plummeted due to the pandemic. The industry initially survived without layoffs thanks to assistance under the CARES Act, but as that funding and the accompanying ban on layoffs expired, a number of carriers took action. measures to reduce their workforce.
So far, Southwest has been able to avoid time off due to the large number of employees taking early retirement or voluntary leave, but CEO Gary Kelly said last month that employees should do so “sacrifice more“as 2021 approaches if holidays were to be avoided.
The decision to fire parts workers, which was first reported by Reuters, came after the union representing the workers refused to discuss pay cuts, according to Southwest, as reported by Reuters. The airline said the holidays would take effect in January unless Washington offers a second round of payroll support.
Southwest’s move is likely a wake-up call to its larger unions of pilots and flight attendants, both of whom have rejected calls for further concessions. The airline is hoping to return to the negotiating table to find a way to cut costs without time off, but Friday’s decision indicates it is ready to act if a compromise cannot be reached.
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