U.S. carrier FedEx intends to cut 671 jobs at its Liège air hub, the company confirmed in a statement on Tuesday. The plan would also entail a change in the number of working hours for 861 other staff at the Liège site.
The company’s objective is to “resize its European workforce as the finalisation of the integration of the TNT network approaches“, acquired in 2016. “Proposals aimed at remedying the duplication of jobs resulting from the exploitation of the two vast European networks which connect similar geographical areas were presented to the representatives of the European employees and to the teams“, FedEx explains.
The American freight giant FedEx bought the Dutch TNT in 2016, present for years in Liège via its Belgian subsidiary TNT Airways. However, it seems that this integration does not proceed well in Liège. Furthermore, FedEx wants to limit its activities in Belgium. The group’s capacity would drop from around forty to around fifteen aircraft at Liège airport. Liège would thus become a “secondary” European hub, Roissy-Charles De Gaulle being the main one. FedEx’ dual hub network in the U.S. has been proven over decades with Memphis as the universal hub and Indianapolis as the secondary hub as will be the case with Liège in central Europe.
The overall impact on the workforce will be 5,500 to 6,300 people in operational teams and in support functions, according to the carrier.
Karen Reddington, President of FedEx Express Europe, said: “We acquired the TNT business in 2016 for one reason: to open up the world for our customers by connecting the global FedEx air network with TNT’s extensive European road network to become a top tier player in Europe. This process, whilst difficult, will allow us together with the completion of the network integration to operate as one company offering greater coverage, speed of delivery, extended operational capabilities and enhanced service levels.
“Changes like this are never easy because they impact our people. However, they are crucial to unlocking the benefits of integration and enhancing our competitiveness in a fast-changing marketplace. None of this changes our values as a company and we are committed to open dialogue, working closely with our social partners and completing this process with the utmost care and respect for our affected team members.”
Dave Canavan, Chief Operating Officer of FedEx Express Europe, explained: “Moving towards a dual-hub model is a strategic advantage for us: improving the competitiveness of our Express business, providing us flexibility, and enhancing our growth opportunities. We understand that while these intended changes are absolutely necessary to put us on the right path, our team members, particularly in Liège, will be concerned about the future. We will do everything we can to conduct these consultations constructively, with a mindset of collaboration and care for those impacted.”
FedEx intends to proceed with a collective dismissal in Liège, as provided for by the Renault law. This would result in a workforce reduction of 671 jobs and a change in the number of working hours for 861 other staff members, as from 2022.