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Bellew under attack from pilots' union over 'damaging' approach


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Targeted: EasyJet chief operating officer Peter Bellew, a former Ryanair executive

Targeted: EasyJet chief operating officer Peter Bellew, a former Ryanair executive

Targeted: EasyJet chief operating officer Peter Bellew, a former Ryanair executive

A UK pilots' union has strongly criticised EasyJet chief operating officer Peter Bellew and called on the airline's pilots to say whether they still have confidence in the former Ryanair executive.

The British Airline Pilots' Association (Balpa) is canvassing its members at EasyJet this week to see what they think of Mr Bellew's performance at the carrier since he joined in January following an acrimonious court battle with Ryanair.

The Irish airline had unsuccessfully attempted to enforce a 12-month non-compete clause on the executive.

"This is not an action that Balpa takes lightly," the union said in a circular sent to EasyJet pilots. Balpa represents more than 90pc of the airline's pilots.

"We would never normally conduct an exercise which would target individual airline management in this way," it added.

"However, we believe that the actions of the COO, from his appointment right through this crisis up to and including the current redundancy consultation, have been so disingenuous and damaging to the airline, including our public image, and its employees, that we have little choice."

The union claimed that Mr Bellew "misjudged" the beginning of the coronavirus crisis by allegedly saying there was "hype" about it.

It has also alleged that Mr Bellew tried to bypass EasyJet's recognised trade unions by proposing so-called 'coronavirus co-operation agreements' directly to crew.

The union has also claimed that Mr Bellew reorganised EasyJet's safety reporting lines to report to him instead of the airline's chief executive.

The union claimed that this is contrary to best practice guidelines from the European Union Air Safety Agency (EASA).

But EasyJet rounded on Balpa's criticisms strongly yesterday.

"We call on Balpa to focus on working constructively with us rather than on personal attacks which are not in the best interests of employees," it said.

"Peter has a wealth of industry experience, having been COO at Ryanair and CEO for Malaysian [Malaysia Airlines] and sits on the EASA strategy advisory board. Safety remains EasyJet's highest priority," it added.

EasyJet has notified 727 UK-based pilots of redundancy.

The Balpa general secretary, Brian Strutton, said pilot morale at the airline "has collapsed".

Irish Independent