Coronavirus: Countdown, Foodstuffs offering instant employment to redundant Flight Centre staff

They'll go from packaging holidays to packaging groceries.
They'll go from packaging holidays to packaging groceries. Photo credit: Getty Images/Newshub.

Just a day after announcing it had been forced to cut the jobs of 250 people, Flight Centre NZ may have found short-term employment for its newly redundant former employees.

While the COVID-19 pandemic is severely impacting on the travel industry in New Zealand, other industries are desperate for staff to help out as customer demand for products and services sky-rocket.

At the top of that list is supermarkets.

"We are devastated to be losing skilled and passionate people from our business due to COVID-19. What would be worse is seeing these same people displaced in an economic downturn," said David Coombes, Flight Centre NZ managing director.

Within minutes of Flight Centre's redundancy announcement, the travel company was contacted by some of the country's biggest brands offering short-term employment to those who had been let go.

Both Countdown and Foodstuffs - the parent company of Pak'nSave, New World and Four Square - are experiencing unprecedented demand due to panic-buying, meaning the companies need an unprecedented amount of employees to cope.

Coombes said Flight Centre has been humbled by an outpouring of support for the business. 

"From our people, our customers and from other businesses; what we never expected, but maybe should have, was such a level of kindness and empathy for our situation," he said.

"It's a true testament to our culture here and the spirit of New Zealanders.

"We are welcoming all opportunities for our teams, whether that's full time or contract employment, or part-time for those who have taken unpaid leave."

Flight Centre is asking other companies to get in touch if they're also in need of employees urgently.