The GMB union has accused BA of putting 30,000 jobs at risk, as airports across the country face closure “within weeks” due to the coronavirus pandemic.
GMB – one of the UK’s biggest trade unions – has called on the government to step in after it was revealed that British Airways had taken the unprecedented step of issuing an HR1 consultation notice for redundancies without specifying the number of jobs at risk. This effectively means all 30,000 BA staff are now at risk of losing their job, as the national airline tries to come to terms with the effects of the pandemic.
GMB have said that any government bailout of the aviation industry must come with guarantees from employers that jobs and pay will be protected.
GMB National Officer Nadine Houghton, said:
British Airways appear to be putting all staff on notice of redundancy.
That’s 30,000 people whose livelihoods are at immediate risk as a result of this global pandemic – with tens of thousands more supply chains and wider economy jobs in danger.
It’s clear the Government must step in to save this crucial plank of the UK economy.
But British Airways can’t be given carte blanche to use bail out cash to line the pockets of fat cats.
Any state intervention must come with a rock solid commitment to save the jobs and pay all British Airways workers.
We will need skilled aviation workers to reinvigorate the industry when we come out of this crisis.
The statement from GMB came as airports up and down the country warned that they will have to shut down in a matter of weeks unless the government intervenes to prop up the aviation industry.
The Airport Operators Association (AOA) called on the government to provide emergency financing “as a measure of last resort”, requesting VAT payments be deferred and air-passenger duty suspended for six months.
AOA Chief executive Karen Dee said:
Governments across the world are supporting their national aviation industries, as many parts of the global travel industry have come to a halt.
As some airlines call on the UK government to act similarly, we are clear that airports will shut down in weeks unless urgent action is taken to support the industry.
She also called on the government to make “an unequivocal commitment to doing whatever it takes to sustain the UK aviation industry. She said:
For the sake of the UK economy, it is essential for the UK government to catch up to its peers across the continent and provide support to the sector and the wider economy through financing, guarantees, grants and tax relief.