The Travel Day of Action is taking place on 23 June 2021. Since it quickly became apparent the impact that Covid 19 was going to have on the travel sector, the IPA has pushed for specific, targeted help for a sector that has been decimated over the last 18 months. Responses from ministers have been underwhelming at best, with the IPA receiving generic replies about the furlough scheme is, and the corporate measures that are in place to support business. Even the Global Travel Taskforce seems to lack any degree of urgency which is required if the UK is to have a travel industry going forward.
We have always welcomed the support that has been given, and undoubtedly the furlough scheme has allowed airlines and operators to retain staff who, without that support would have been made redundant. However, that does not address the deficiencies we have identified in respect of ensuring that when travel reopens, there are UK based operators still in existence to meet future requirements.
All parts of the UK travel industry will come together (in line with current covid restrictions/guidelines) on 23 June. One thing that those participating in the day will be calling for is a package of tailored financial support. It was evident to us from the outset that the schemes devised would fall short in the longer term of what the sector needs to survive. By analogy, the hospitality sector has been able to reopen and is struggling to recruit staff to fill necessary posts. This sector was also able to ‘adapt’ during lockdown. Aviation could not, it was grounded overnight. As the economy has slowly opened up once again, aviation and travel has been left behind. The aviation and travel sector has been hit by redundancies with no recruitment opportunities in the UK for the foreseeable future.
We have been clear that the complaints of the sector are not solely related to monetary measures. Those in a position of authority need to make decisions to facilitate the safe return to international travel without further prevarication.
We have been contacted by many members, frustrated at the lack of a clear way forward, and a shifting of goal posts that make it impossible for any business to predict, or plan for the short or long term. We have, in the last few days received questions from members in relation to supporting the travel industry day of action. Our General Secretary, Philip Flower advises the following –
We know our members are responsible professionals but sometimes a person can be caught up in events beyond their control, completely innocently. As such, we offer the following advice -
- Our overriding concern is for your safety given the ongoing pandemic. If you do intend to join this event, we strongly urge you to take all reasonable precautions to keep a safe distance from others, to carry hand sanitizing gel, and to always wear a face mask, particularly when travelling on any form of public transport.
- You should not wear any item of your uniform or other item that identifies who your employer is unless your employer consents.
- Whilst legitimate lawfully organised protest is an important part of our democracy, you should be aware that any behaviour falling below an acceptable standard that you can be identified as engaging in, could result in disciplinary action by your employer.
- Be constantly aware of the fact that modern technology means instant transmission of recordings and when live streaming of events does occur, this is sometimes presented completely out of context.
- We suggest that you pair up with someone else who can always act as a witness to events and possibly capture a more accurate account of what happens on video.
As always, we are your union, and are here to support you through these incredibly difficult times.