England, Wales and Scotland section of International Socialist Alternative

Covid-19 jobs crisis: a laid-off worker writes

I’ve been working for a visa company for the last year and in total have 5 years’ experience in the travel industry. Up until a few months ago my job was safe. With the outbreak of the coronavirus, uncertainty spread throughout the industry from companies big to small. This resulted in me along with many other people being made redundant.

The first company I heard of making cuts was the biggest Visa company, CIBT, who let 45 of their staff go with a view to letting more go if and when the situation worsens. Another large travel company, CTM Travel Management, made redundant around 20 to 25 staff members, letting go of anyone who had been at the company for less than two years in order to avoid paying any redundancy – once again with more redundancies expected.

Another problem specifically in the visa industry is the fact that many of the out-of-office workers are not hired on a full-time basis meaning they face losing work with absolutely no pay, despite how long they have worked for their companies. A friend of mine who lost his job of 30 years will now struggle to make ends meet and will find it hard to find work even when this crisis is resolved. This not a unique case. Many of my friends and colleagues have over the last few weeks expressed worries about providing for their families as, with each embassy closure, their jobs seem more uncertain.

I’m lucky for now as I have no one to provide for but I’m waiting to see if I’ll be rehired now the government has announced their pay scheme and how it will be implemented. In a few months time I may be in trouble If I have no job and work is scarce after many companies going under.

My story is not unique and neither is the industry I work in. Across the whole economy, and indeed the country, workers are watching with growing alarm as the number of job losses racks up. It is clear that bosses are using the lack of legal protection for workers to foist the cost of this crisis upon those that can least afford it.  


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