UK union the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) has hit out at what it calls a "take it or leave it" contract offered to some pilots by low-cost carrier EasyJet.
The UK carrier today announced plans for 330 new permanent jobs in 2013 for pilots as part of a new career structure to provide cadet and First Officer opportunities for pilots looking for a career at EasyJet.
The airline says new permanent First Officer positions will be offered across all 11 of its UK bases and that it has also reshaped and formalised its career structure. "This will provide cadets with the opportunity to gain experience and flying hours followed by a new entrant contract for experienced First Officers which in turn leads to a long-term career at EasyJet and the opportunity to become a Captain," the airline says.
EasyJet head of flight operations, Captain Brian Tyrrell, says: "We offer a clear career path for pilots with the potential to move from First Officer to Captain more quickly than at other airlines."
But BALPA general secretary Jim McAuslan is unimpressed by the move. "EasyJet has been dragged kicking and screaming by BALPA into offering a permanent contract to some of its growing casual pilot workforce. But, despite the spin in today's EasyJet announcement, this "take-it-or-leave-it" contract is being denounced by pilots across EasyJet," he says.
"BALPA has been inundated with concerned young pilots, desperate for a job and experience, who will still have to put up with two years on a zero hours contract and uncertain lifestyle," he says.
McAuslan adds: "BALPA's campaign for a decent contract for all easyJet pilots will continue both publically and industrially."