Government urged to find new employment for 2,100 after airline goes bust
MINISTERS should act fast to find jobs for Monarch staff who could soon be thrown into dole queues following the airline’s collapse, Labour said yesterday.
More than 2,100 workers are at risk of losing their jobs after the Luton-based carrier went into administration early on Monday.
General union Unite said government incompetence and inaction had left the jobs “hanging by a thread.”
Administrators said the company had struggled with rising costs and increased competition.
And in a memo to workers, Monarch chief executive Andrew Swaffield blamed terror attacks in Egypt and Tunisia, as well as the “decimation” of the tourist trade in Turkey, for hitting the firm’s income.
It is thought that the airline has around 110,000 passengers currently abroad.
The Civil Aviation Authority said the government had asked it to charter more than 30 planes to get the stranded tourists home.
A further 300,000 are booked to fly with Monarch in the coming months.
Labour shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald said: “The government must do all it can to ensure the safe return of passengers and to make them aware of the compensation to which they are entitled.
“The government should also look at how they can support Monarch staff, including by helping facilitate alternative employment in the aviation industry.
“With Ryanair recently cancelling thousands of flights, in part because of unfair treatment of staff, and Monarch having ceased trading, the sector is in a period of uncertainty.”
Unite, which represents around 1,800 Monarch cabin crew and engineers, said potential investors and buyers were deterred by Brexit uncertainties.
The government has yet to reach an agreement with the EU to maintain current flying freedoms for British airlines.
The union also accused ministers of rebuffing requests from Monarch to provide a bridging loan to the company.
“[The staff’s] hard work has been undone by a government seemingly content to sit on its hands and allow one of the UK’s oldest airlines go into administration,” Unite national officer Oliver Richardson said.
“Now is not the time for government ministers to wash their hands of a problem they have contributed to. Ministers need to act fast by intervening in a similar way as their German counterparts did with Air Berlin and help secure a future for Monarch.”