Russia's largest international airport furloughs staff

Its president was also stood down due to sanctions

Russia's largest international airport furloughs staff

Russia's largest international airport Sheremetyevo have furloughed its staff and froze hiring, according to reports, as the company goes into "idle" mode amid sinking activity.

Reuters reported that about a fifth of the airport's workforce have been furloughed since mid-March, after the air transport sanctions began plunging the terminal's activity.

"From March 16, some employees of Sheremetyevo International Airport were furloughed," the company said in a statement quoted by Reuters.

In addition, the company said it is halting new recruitment of employees, while all open positions have been removed.

Flight Global reported that the affected employees have been put on a "special programme" since March 16. As part of the programme, they retain their jobs and they are still paid two-thirds of their salary, according to the report.

Meanwhile, Flight Global added that the flight operator has "optimised" staff schedules for the remaining employees while the company goes into idle mode.

"This measure, to the fullest extent possible, ensures social protection and support for employees in the current conditions," the company said as quoted by Flight Global.

The reduction of work and the drop of production load by nearly 70% comes as sanctions hit the airport amid the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Its president, Alexander Ponomarenko, was also previously stood down after being targeted by sanctions from the European Union. He was among the individuals that received said sanctions, as well as Alisher Usmanov, Petr Aven, and banker Mikhail Fridman.

Sheremetyevo was one of the busiest airports in Europe before the pandemic happened, according to Reuters. However, the airport saw some of its passenger terminals and one of its runways shuttered because of sanctions stemming from the ongoing conflict.

"Terminal E, Terminal D… and runway three have been temporarily put out of service, until passenger traffic and take-off and landing operations increase," the airport said in a statement quoted by AFP.

It also said that it would suspend investment projects and would reduce costs while activity remains down.

Read more: Are furloughd staff entitled to paid sick leave?

Workers get hit by conflict

Workers have been receiving a bitter end amid the ongoing invasion of Russia in the Ukraine, where they get retrenched or find out that their employers are shutting down their businesses.

Major corporations in the United States, including Starbucks and McDonald's have suspended operations in Russia, but the latter pledged to keep supporting its 62,000-strong staff. Swedish furniture giant IKEA also announced that it is halting operations in Russia but assured that it is taking steps to secure jobs of the workers.

New Zealand's largest company Fonterra also said it is exiting Russian businesses amid the conflict and vowed to re-deploy affected employees.

HR managers are urged to keep their employees' morale intact, wherever they may be, despite the ongoing conflict. Andrew Caldwell, HR manager at Peninsula Canada, told HRD that HR could take the following steps:

  1. Acknowledge what is happening
  2. Offer flexible hours or approved requested Time Off
  3. Mental Health check

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