CPH: Fruitful negotiations leading to fewer redundancies

Following constructive negotiations with union representatives across all employee groups at Copenhagen Airports (CPH), the parties have now managed to reduce the number of redundancies resulting from the coronavirus crisis. By turning to upskilling, CPH has gradually managed to reduce the number of redundancies. Initially to 650 full-time positions, and lately through the launch of a number of training programmes and the elimination of vacant positions, the number of redundancies has now been reduced to a figure corresponding to 511 full-time positions. This includes a number of voluntary termination agreements, equal to about 200 full-time positions. CPH’s HR Director Kirstine Bergenholtz calls it a small consolation on a very sad day. 

Copenhagen Airports eliminated a large number of positions today and unfortunately had to send redundancy notices to a number of employees. The redundancies effected and voluntary termination agreements correspond to 511 full-time positions. Everyone affected has now been notified, and this marks the end of the negotiation process between CPH’s management and union representatives that was initiated in early August. As previously announced, a number of local agreements were terminated at the same time.

On 5 August, CPH announced its intention to eliminate 650 of the company’s 2600 full-time positions. The decision was rooted in the severe impact that the coronavirus crisis has had on CPH – current weekly traffic is less than 20 per cent of the normal volume. Given the prospects of an extended period with significantly fewer passengers, CPH has had no choice but to adapt activity levels and its headcount to the new reality. As the Danish government’s wage compensation scheme expires at the end of August, it is now time to align operations more permanently to the new conditions.

Although it took place under very difficult circumstances, Bergenholtz believes it was a very constructive negotiation process that made it possible to reduce the number of actual redundancies.

“This is an incredibly sad day – not least for the highly skilled and dedicated colleagues whom we've now had to let go. Although it was a difficult process, I’d like to thank the union representatives for the very constructive negotiations we had. It’s been our ambition throughout the coronavirus crisis to retain as many jobs as possible,” says Bergenholtz.

Training initiatives save jobs and strengthen competencies

Emphasis on upskilling training programmes was a key aspect of CPH’s approach to the negotiations with the union representatives. Even before announcing the plans to eliminate the 650 positions, CPH resolved to apply upskilling as a means of bridging the gap between wage compensation and a future situation of increasing passenger numbers. Had it not been for that decision, the number of eliminated positions would have been higher.

As a result of the current plans, hundreds of continuing and former CPH employees will, over the coming months, attend newly-established training programmes that are based on several of the Danish government’s employment and upskilling initiatives, and in close collaboration with unions and Tårnby Local Authority’s newly-established job centre at the airport.

The individual training initiatives will help to upskill employees in continuing employment during a period of reduced activity at the airport. For the employees who will unfortunately lose their jobs, the training programmes will be an opportunity to learn new skills that may help them find new jobs elsewhere.

“There’s no doubt that the initiatives we’re taking to provide training opportunities will truly make a difference. Our headcount at the airport is simply too high right now relative to the passenger numbers we’re expecting. By having staff members attend dedicated training programmes, we’ll be able to retain more employees than we would otherwise,“ explains Bergenholtz.

The redundancies that CPH has implemented are broadly distributed across all work functions and employee groups at the airport.

“We’re deeply indebted to all the affected employees for their unstinting service at the airport. Regrettably, this will affect many families, and it’ll be yet another severe blow to the local communities that the airport is a part of. That’s why we must do everything we can to overcome the challenges we’re facing because of the coronavirus, so we can get the airport back to being an international air traffic hub that’ll contribute to generating new growth and new jobs,” says Bergenholtz.

For further information, please contact: Kenni Leth, Head of Press Relations at Copenhagen Airport, tel. +45 32 31 28 00