Emirates Continues With Layoffs, Now By Email

Filed Under: Emirates

It’s going to take years for the airline industry to fully recover to pre-2020 levels, and as a result we’re seeing airlines around the world lay off employees.

Those who haven’t been laid off are likely feeling an incredible amount of anxiety regarding their job security, so that can’t be fun.

Emirates started laying off employees in June

In early June, Emirates started laying off employees across all functions, from management, to pilots, to flight attendants, to ground agents.

Emirates’ approach to mass layoffs left a lot of employees incredibly frustrated. The airline sent out emails to select employees every evening, informing them that they’d need to appear at the training college the following day for a “business update” meeting. At the meeting they informed those employees that their positions were being made redundant.

While I recognize that there’s no perfect way to go about layoffs, the approach that Emirates took seemed especially nerve-racking. For days on end these emails would go out, and employees refreshed their email inboxes constantly, fearing the dreaded email.

The mass layoffs stopped temporarily as of a couple of weeks ago… but not for long.

Emirates has already laid off thousands of employees

Emirates now laying off employees by email

Today Emirates continued the process of laying off employees. However, unlike last time, this didn’t involve having to go to the training college.

Instead, earlier today Emirates’ Divisional Senior Vice President of Service Delivery sent out a mass email to select employees informing them that they’ve been made redundant. As the email stated (in part):

“As you know, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have an unprecedented impact on businesses and economies around the world. The impact on the travel industry has been particularly severe and whilst we have already taken measures to control costs, it has become inevitable that we need to reduce our resources in line with business requirements.

Following a review of all areas across the group, I regret to inform you that your role has been made redundant. This has been a difficult decision for us and we want to assure you that we will manage this situation in a supportive and respectful manner.”

The email then goes on to specifically ask employees not to download any company information onto personal devices:

“Please be mindful that you are required to adhere to Emirates Group policies during your notice period. This includes strict policies against downloading Company information and data onto personal devices.”

There’s not much transparency when it comes to how many people are being made redundant and what the criteria are, though it’s clear that the number has been in the thousands.

Since Emirates switched from in-person layoffs to email layoffs, the hope is that there’s not much more bad news coming.

Emirates is laying off thousands of employees across all functions

Bottom line

Emirates resumed the process of laying off employees as of today, after a hiatus of a couple of weeks. The company is no longer having employees come into the training college for a “business update” meeting, but rather is at this point delivering the bad news by email.

While that’s obviously not ideal, I think most Emirates employees would rather just already know the bad news and be done with. Hopefully there aren’t many more emails coming.

My thoughts are still with those in Dubai… hang in there!

  1. Thoughts with the hardworking, older, kind and professional cabin crew.
    Payback for the ones acting as divas onboard and on Instagram showing off their luxury international trips in a very arrogant way.

  2. Yeah, if I was gonna be laid off I’d rather just get an e-mail than go to some other location in-person and get told there. Just give me the bad news quickly, don’t even care if it’s over a generic e-mail.

  3. @Metonia:

    While true, it’s harsh to be told either way “You’ve been laid off” or “You’ve been made redundant” in an official medium. To @Eric’s point, better wording could’ve been:

    Following a review of all areas across the group, I regret to inform you that we cannot continue to staff your particular role or provide further employment for you at this time. This has been a difficult decision for us and we want to assure you that we will manage this situation in a supportive and respectful manner.

    Eases the sting a bit, no? To @S’s point, though, I’d rather get a generic email than the nonsensical pomp and circumstance of calling me into a bogus meeting. Just let me get on with sending out CVs.

  4. I agree – as hard as it is, would rather just get an email than go through the ceremony of an in person meeting. Followed by a walk through the office as all of your former colleagues are staring at you knowing you just got laid off…

  5. +1 for @Metonia, it’s all about messaging and “redundant” is an awful word in this case

  6. While it is not a nice word, “redundant” has a specific meaning in employment law in some countries. It means they no longer need someone in your role, as opposed to you quitting or them firing you. In Australia, you are entitled to a payment if you are being made redundant, which can be substantial if you have been with the company for a long time.

  7. In the UK being laid off is not the same as being made redundant and should not be used interchangeaby..

    Letters sent to employees are carefully worded and restricted to the legalities. They generally exclude any ‘fluff’ about how sorry they are or how wonderful your work is etc etc which can come in a separate note along with other information such as job seeking advice or how to claim benefits.

    In the UK being made redundant = you have lost your job full stop.

    Being laid off is for a temporary period – could be a few days to several weeks – where you are not required to work but you will still receive an element of your salary such as basic pay but not shift pay or other allowances based on your attendance

  8. AR’s email is confusing. What does “staff your particular role” mean? Then “or provide further employment” means it’s a case of which is it? It sounds negative but is vague about the cause and the future.

    Sending out that email would just create a lot of noise and uncertainty. “Redundant” is far clearer what is meant and the reasons for same.

  9. There will be about 36,000 united employees that will be let go soon. What a sad sad times.

  10. This is tragic but Emirates is not the only airline letting go of its employees. I am optimistic a high proportion of these employees will get thair jobs back when the Coronavirus epidemic is over.

  11. Yes, I agree with Nick. As harsh as it might sound to American ears, “redundant” is the standard term used in employment law in many countries around the world.

  12. @AR
    But it doesn’t say “you’ve been made redundant” — it says “YOUR ROLE has been made redundant”.

    As others have said, this has a specific meaning in British English, related to employment law and the way your employer is unilaterally breaking your contract of employment. It is no reflection on you as an individual.

    Personally, I loathed the euphemistic alternatives you suggested. It’s as if by dressing it up in pleasanter-sounding words you are denying the brutality of what you are doing to me. How dare you try to protect yourself like that?

    More importantly, with news like this there should be absolutely no ambiguity. The recipient needs to understand, on first reading, exactly what is happening

    Most of us emotionally invest at least a bit in our work — it’s how we can deliver great service — so redundancy is always a wrench. Employers shouldn’t try to pretend this is a nice process.

    I’d even question why Emirates didn’t make the sentence about the role being redundant into a standalone paragraph, stark and clear, instead of immediately running-on into some corporate b/s to justify themselves. The employer’s feelings don’t matter right now, and immediately wittering on about how it’s been such a difficult decision for them — as if we’re meant to feel pity for those poor senior executives firing their staff — just detracts from how unpleasant this news is for the recipient.

    I hope things work out for those who are being forced out. The consolation is that in most economies the majority of people made redundant go on to get higher-paid work, though trying to find that in a contracting economy is going to be very tough.

  13. A classic textbook litigation would take them to their toes. My advice to layoff’s is to atleast give them a fight in a court of law. Dont take it for granted.

  14. This is only July round. Expect more to come. A380s will end even more than the 46 they originally wished to keep. It’ll be in the 30s range. 90-100+ to be decommissioned. It’s a refresh for the airline. As you can tell by the comment “don’t download any info” means they are watching you and will continue to do so. This is typical Emirates. They are in the worst of their lives. At the end of the day you care about getting points to ride fancy airlines for pennies. Think about all the hard working ppl that now need to get home (as majority are expats) and starts afresh…

  15. However in many countries including the good old US , employment is at will and you can be laid off at any tine without a dime

    Then in the US if you have no job you can’t rely on medical care if you are sick as there’s no universal healthcare

    In the U.K. 1.5 weeks pay / year if you are over 41

  16. In my experience as an employer, who is also sometimes hiring people, the terms “redundant” or “redundancy” have a positive impact on the chances of a job candidate. If his/her former employer used these words, it is clear to me as a new employer, that the dismissal was not related to job performance or behaviour, but purely to restructuring of the company. So redundancy helps them on the job market.

  17. The in person layoffs stopped for a while due to at least 3 suicides, 2 stewards and one pilot.

  18. I am 68 years old. I was 52 when I lost my job from reputed Airline working as deputy Manager. Similarly HR department head called me and asked me to sign that I dont have any claim. In a way big companies HR, decicission are heartless. I was not given any facility of /free rebated tickets.
    The day I lost my job all the guys I was working disappeared as if thry didnt exist. But remember for those you have lost jobs that dont worry too much, do not spoil your health. God has something better for you, not immediately but soon. By working for EK , may be you changed your life style and forgot what you are. Please don’t get nervous, I guarantee you , there will be better position and monetary gain waiting for you. It’s always said if one door closed on you, there are 10 opened for you.
    Good luck.

  19. I have been having solace and comfort sit ins, with family and friends, recruited by this airline, in the last 15 ~ 30 years minimum, who are waiting for theyre impending calls or emails for lay offs..

    They never made the attempts to look out for jobs with other companies in the last decade or more, bcoz they felt they’re positions were secure in their lifetime with the airline.

    Now they turn to others like me non government based individuals and private companies, to rescue them, bcoz theyre soaking in debts and financial commitments they can’t pay back from having no job.

    Moreover the glamour & TRUMP like excesses they gave into from being in this land of fake declarations. With the local law and gov entities, now waiting to noose them with the help of Interpol after being red flagged for no travel or exit, if they haven’t settled outstandings and dues..

    I have been living here 55 years. As a self employed I understand one cannot keep on an employee for ever. Especially if they’re on high perks and salaries and businesses not generating revenue bcoz of unforseen circumstances.

    However what I don’t understand is when an airline has its own mulitple airports bulit to park and hangar hundreds of wide and long bodied aircrafts dedicated to its own brand. And multiple back up airports closeby to its main operations airports !!

    When they’ve been operating 40 years plus to major destinations. When they buy hundreds of newer released aircraft models.
    When they have theyre own in-house maintenance teams, flying schools, restaurants, glitz and glamour duty free shops, lottery and prize draw gimmicks, making zillions inside the airports.

    And when you’re entire backyard is an oil sump to fuel anything machinery needing zillion barrels of oil for free . And when the government owns it all and regulates and pumps in funding to keep it flying sky high ! When the local Arab dont work or contribute to even 1% of all the blood, sweat, tears and sudden death the multinational expatriates give !

    I ask!!! Where has all that money gone in the last 40 years of operations. How come you shrivel up and shed your load suddenly in 3 months of Corona invasion.

    Where is all the money this airline and country has taken from flying in the last 40 years, from loans taken from the world bank, neighbouring states and countries, private and successful individuals and enterprises.

    Where is all money gone from having the highest taxes, customs, telecoms, utilities, real estate sale & rentals, medicals, insurances, infrastructure contracts & deployments, slave labour and other Humanitarian injustices and exploitation.

    I mean where has all the money gone. Even if you don’t fly and generate renue for another 5 years say. You can easily sustain life and its needs for that time from the crazy profits this country made from being a tourist hub and slave tyrant for the last 40 years!!

    What happened to the great hyped 2020 exhibition. It was stalled and failed to.doom even before Corona. Now you blame and burkha on those failed ventures by cunningly blaming Corona for your failed calculations and ridiculous spending on the fake life style excesses and deceptions via media propaganda !

  20. @Kalai you are actually 100% right. Where is all the money – they have it but they dont care about employees. Living in dubai is an utter as you said “Trump” like facade. glamour for the few and usually overpriced. Laborers making barely $200 a month making buildings that look nice from the outside but actually really low quality. They have huge covid outbreaks in the labour camps which is a fact by HRW watching. But they will never fix their lives – just send them back home. And for the EK staff – its the worst also as many many got very cushy having mentality of “untouachable” also now facing dire situations. As an FYI this is only the beginning – as reported by Bloomberg in early May they will remove at minimum 30% off the 100,000 workforce including DNATA. This is actually happening – for pilots they have already surpassed the 30% over the past few weeks and crew we dont and wouldnt know the number. And dont forget EK might not even be a premium airline and might even become a Flydubai EK combo mid range airline company.

  21. @Anna – sad to hear, I was always so pleased when I got to work with the NY office (mostly complaints + commendations but a few special requests). Always felt like their work was not the result of copying the typical form letter EK gives them.

  22. @Mh and @The nice Paul:

    Curious to know how you (British English, I presume) interpret “you’ve been made redundant” versus “the role/position you fill has been made redundant”? A role can be eliminated (made redundant…?) but someone can still keep their job by filling another position, like if an airline is downsizing at an outstation and needs fewer gate agents. If the company simply has too many people and they’re eliminating people (and, presumably, roles/positions), then that’s a different scenario. How is that stated to clear up ambiguity? Is “eliminated” used for inanimate objects and “made redundant” for employees?

  23. @AR
    Technically, you are being dismissed by virtue of the role being redundant — but, perhaps in deference to people’s feelings, the word “dismissal” is rarely used in this context.

    I don’t think any (British English) speaker would be in any doubt on receiving an email saying “your post is being made redundant” — and the exception would be if it then went on to offer alternative posts in the company (which you wouldn’t have to take if you’d rather have compensation).

    Normally these emails would include the compensation being offered for your dismissal (technically, a chunk of that would normally be damages for the employer’s breach of your contract). In some jurisdictions there is a statutory minimum amount that must be paid in compensation, though I think that’s not the case in the US where compensation is either contractual or a gratuity of some sort. Most UK companies would pay more than the statutory minimum (the most generous I worked for paid compensation of a month’s salary for every year of service, though that was at the top end, outside executive offices).

  24. Surely redundancy notifications are a role of the Groups HR function? Sensing a bit of a ‘God Complex’ here, whereby the same European SVP decided two years ago to relieve all over 50 year old cabin crew of their jobs.

    The email should have come from Group HR, or the company President, offering more reasoning and compassion during an obvious difficult time (COVID-19).

  25. Compassion? From an HR department??

    This whole horrible time should be a stark reminder that corporations expect total loyalty but offer none. People who are seduced by a lovely, friendly brand just don’t understand what business is all about.

  26. @The nice Paul:

    Good points and interesting (but sad) to discuss. The small-but-important divergences between our two versions of the same mother tongue can be quite interesting. And Americans do love to add unnecessary flourish.

    In the US, I think most would forgive someone for asking whether it was simply the role or their employment and the role, hence the requirement for a distinction given the size of some of our companies and the sheer number of employees. Shuffling occurs quite frequently thanks to “consultants” (I’m looking at you, Accenture) attempting to streamline company operations by adding roles and removing roles. I’ve been party to two such shakeups wherein roles were eliminated but then, as if by magic, some similar role with a different title was made available a month later. Silly, for sure, and horribly inefficient considering there was no net change in employment numbers.

  27. Emirates seems in bad shape . On the other hand Qatar has continued flying all through Covid and is stepping up now to 66 countries . It would be nice to read about Qatar and how they have done it ? BEN – as assignment for you ???

  28. My son joined Emirates with hope to build future a year ago. He, recently, is declared redundant. He is very young. Like him many are losing jobs. Emirates can look the model what Air India adopted. AI sent their surplus on holiday without pay. But they are not told as if they have lost the job. This is the better way to relieve youth from psychological pressures in hard times.
    Emirates could also have retained pilots with reduced salary and wait for COVID situation to recover. Emirates could also have worded that with improving the market situation, ex emirates pilot will be called for opportunity first. On just giving them refresher, they can soon be on board.
    Point to ponder

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *