Over the last few weeks, I’ve written about the sad state of affairs that the travel industry finds itself in. After Covid-19 upended the normal functioning of the economy, customer demand came to a standstill. We saw a massive wave of airline bankruptcies. This was followed by car rental companies also filing for Chapter 11. A few weeks back, I wrote about how the big 3 US Airlines were on the verge of announcing layoffs. Similarly, Business Insider is now reporting details about how JetBlue is now planning to institute layoffs starting October 1.
Business Insider accessed and published an internal email that JetBlue’s management had sent out on Tuesday. Here are some of the key points in the memo:
- JetBlue plans to outsource certain positions at smaller airports, a move which is likely to impact at least 300 employees
- JetBlue is offering employees to opt out by offering incentives like free travel, healthcare or extended pay for a specific period of time
- Employees can choose benefits based on their position and the number of years they’ve worked with JetBlue
- In their own words, JetBlue plans to move to a “full business partner model”. As per this model, JetBlue will outsource above and below wing positions like gate agents and baggage handlers to outside contractors
- JetBlue plans to put these measures in place from October 1, once the CARES funding requirements expire
You can read the entire Business Insider report here
Here’s the full text of the memo:
This week we are having a number of conversations with smaller BlueCities where we have made the difficult decision to transition to a full Business Partner model after October 1, 2020. We will be able to share additional details next week after we have the opportunity to talk with impacted Crewmembers. Please know that we are partnering closely with the Airports Values Committee on these changes.
The continued impact of coronavirus on our industry has left us no choice but to look for new ways to run our airline. This decision is in no way a reflection of our Crewmembers’ level of work in those cities who live the JetBlue Culture every day and offer the JetBlue experience our Customers love.
Taking care of impacted Crewmembers is our priority. We will make sure they have the support they need to understand the transition and to consider the options we are offering, including priority transfer opportunities to stay at JetBlue, as well as our current voluntary opt out programs.
News like this is never easy to hear, but is a necessary step in protecting the future of our company.
Many thanks for your continued support as we work through these changed.
The Pundit’s Mantra
Given the current state of the economy, these moves come as no surprise. However, as many JetBlue employees have correctly pointed out, this move could dilute the company’s culture. Gate agents are often the face of the company and interact with the customers. If these agents are now third party contractors instead of full time JetBlue employees, they are a lot less likely to fully embrace and represent JetBlue during customer interactions.
What do you think about JetBlue’s strategy with these layoffs and the temporary employee benefits they’re offering? Tell us in the comments section.
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