US-based delivery service FedEx has confirmed its plan to get rid of 671 jobs from its operation at Liege airport, from a total of 1,700.
The restructuring is a result of the company’s takeover of Dutch competitor TNT, which presents the company with some duplication of effort that has to be ironed out.
Expected, but yet to be confirmed, are up to 50 job cuts at FedEx at Brussels Airport in Zaventem, as well as a review of the working hours of 861 of the remaining workers at Liege.
FedEx took over TNT in 2016, bringing together two major transport networks, both in the air and on the road. At the time the new parent company said there would be little effect on jobs, as it foresaw new opportunities for package deliveries.
In the event, that prediction came true as far as online shopping was concerned, in particular during the last year, thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic – a development no-one could have foreseen.
FedEx has also decided to keep its main hub for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Paris-Charles-De Gaulle, despite hopes that the TNT acquisition might see the hub switch to Liege. Paris has been the main hub in Europe since 1999.
On the acquisition of TNT in 2016, however, FedEx did make one notable move, by transferring its European headquarters to Hoofddorp, at a stone’s throw from Schiphol airport in the Netherlands, where TNT was based.
The Liege job losses are part of a restructuring that will mean the loss of 5,500 to 6,300 jobs across Europe. FedEx will now begin the procedure of negotiations on collective redundancies, known as the Renault law.
Meanwhile unions representing Fedex employees at Liege called a 48 hour strike on Tuesday in protest at the jobs plan. Since then no freigt has been loaded or unloaded.