Companies making staff redundant as furlough ends need to ensure they consider alternatives and only get rid of staff “as a last resort”.

That was the message to travel firms from speakers at the second C&M Travel Recruitment HR webinar.

With furlough ending on October 31, it was acknowledged companies unable to keep hold of staff after that date would now be starting the redundancy process.

Speaker Ami Naru, partner and head of employment law at Travlaw, said despite the government’s post-furlough plans the industry still expected further job losses.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a Jobs Support Scheme for six months from November 1  which would see employers paying staff the full rate for hours worked and the government and employers sharing the cost of two-thirds of the ‘missing’ wages.

But Naru, speaking just prior to the announcement, said: “Despite what is announced, there will be more redundancies in the coming months.”

She urged firms to follow “fair procedures” in the redundancy process, and stressed the need for consultations to find alternative roles.

“You don’t go and tell staff they will be made redundant; you place them at risk. After the consultation they may or may not be made redundant. It’s very much a last resort because no alternative can be found,” she said.

Alternatives could include allowing staff to take a sabbatical, reduced hours, pay cuts, or short term working. “You need to give alternatives some thought,” she added.

Speaker Claire Steiner, HR expert and UK director of Global Travel and Tourism Partnership, said employees may be more open to alternatives in the current environment.

She said: “People are worried and will be prepared to negotiate with you to keep their jobs.”

C&M Travel Recruitment director Barbara Kolosinska reported there were now signs the industry was picking up with a “slow return” to recruitment, mainly in financial, marketing and IT roles.

She said: “Companies are beginning to recruit again, probably more for the essential roles as a result of restructuring and redundancies and a little bit of expansion.

“In the last couple of weeks we have seen a slight increase in businesses that are robust and begun to think about the future and the staff they will be taking on.”

C&M Travel Recruitment recently launched its ‘talenteering’ portal to help travel companies support staff being made redundant.