Unite’s assistant general secretary has responded to reports in the press that an agreement with British Airways over jobs is close.
Howard Beckett, Unite’s assistant general secretary, has reacted quickly to dismiss reports that the union’s dispute with BA is close to being settled.
Several reports in the media today have suggested a deal on jobs and employment terms for BA staff is close, but Beckett said: “It is not correct to suggest that negotiations between Unite and British Airways have concluded. Unite remains in negotiations with British Airways in a number of different bargaining units.
“Even in areas where draft agreements exist, these are still subject to approval from members through a ballot. Unless and until Unite members agree to all and any proposals no settlement has been reached and it is unhelpful and misleading for British Airways to suggest otherwise.”
The reports of an imminent deal came as British Airways’ owner IAG revealed it is scrapping more flights from its schedule for the rest of the year as it adjusts to the decrease in demand for air travel. IAG, which also owns Aer Lingus and Iberia, said that the quarantine restrictions being imposed on travellers means that demand for flights this autumn will be 60% less than last year.
IAG also said that it did not expect business to return to the levels of 2019 until at least 2023.
Unite has been in a bitter dispute with British Airways about proposed redundancies and pay cuts for cabin crew, as the airline looks to shed up to 13,000 jobs. Recently the airline revealed that over 8,000 employees had already left the business “mostly as a result of voluntary redundancy”.
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The decision by IAG to cut more flights than originally planned follows the company’s previous forecast of a 46% reduction in demand for the period between October – December compared with the same period last year.
IAG said that there was an “almost complete cessation of new booking activity” in April and May because of the coronavirus pandemic, but there was a slight increase in June as the lockdown restrictions began to be eased across the country.
However, the company has now seen an “overall levelling off in bookings” since July as the UK and other European countries have imposed new quarantine restrictions for travellers returning from overseas.