Cabin crew, engineers and airport staff are among the British Airways employees being told whether or not they will lose their jobs.
It has been confirmed that more than 10,000 British Airways workers are being made redundant. It is understood that 6,000 of the redundancies are voluntary and trade union Unite has revealed that a further 4,000 are compulsory redundancies.
The airline has said that the redundancies are due to the “financial impact of COVID-19 on our business”.
Unite’s assistant general secretary Howard Beckett, who has been campaigning for months on behalf of British Airways workers, said: “This is a very bleak day for the incredible BA workforce and will go down in the history of the airline as the day that it put the interests of the boardroom ahead of its passengers and workforce.
“These workers have given years of dedicated service to this company, some as many as 40 years, and indeed to our country, as many were involved in the repatriation of British citizens at the outset of this pandemic.
“Today they will be dismissed by email by an employer whose spiteful mistreatment of them is nothing other than despicable.”
Mr Beckett went on to criticise BA’s handling of the redundancies and accused the airline of forcing loyal staff out. He said: “This company has displayed scant regard for either employment law or basic common decency. We cannot trust them to do the right thing by this workforce, so we will be doing everything in our power to prevent this continued industrial thuggery.
“Make no mistake, 4,000 loyal workers are being forced out of the jobs that they love today by naked, company greed.”
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A spokesperson for British Airways said: “Our half-year results, published last week, clearly show the enormous financial impact of COVID-19 on our business.
“We are having to make difficult decisions and take every possible action now to protect as many jobs as possible.
“And, while we never could have anticipated being in a position of making redundancies, more than 6,000 of our colleagues have now indicated that they wish to take voluntary redundancy from BA.”
Unite said that it believes British Airways intends to cut around 10,700 jobs in total.
BA’s parent company, Internation Airlines Group, previously announced that it could cut up to 12,000 jobs due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
The airline is currently operating at less than 20% of its schedule due to the drop in demand and the travel restrictions caused by COVID-19, and doesn’t expect demand for air travel to return to ‘normal’ levels until at least 2023.
Unite’s Howard Beckett has called for improved testing at airports to help the industry and prevent further job losses, saying on Twitter today:
The Aviation sector needs testing at major airports and clean cabin air circulation.
Labour must promote nationalising BA, and others, before accepting 100s of thousands of job losses.
Workers,in all our sectors,did not create this crisis and should not pay for it.
— Howard Beckett (@BeckettUnite) August 5, 2020