Too many job cuts leaves BA in the soup

The
disruption to British Airways flights caused by staff shortages has raised
fears that the airline giant has cut too many jobs since the September 11
terror attacks.

An
estimated 3,000 passengers faced disruption on Tuesday as BA cancelled flights
for the second day running, owing to staff shortages at Heathrow airport.

The
airline also cancelled eight domestic flights on Wednesday out of 96 that
normally run, although it said that all passengers would be accommodated on
other flights.

BA
blamed the problems on a lack of check-in staff, caused by an unusually high
number of staff resigning this year. It said security vetting procedures had
delayed replacements.

But
Brendan Gold, national secretary for civil air transport at the Transport and
General Workers’ union, said the gaps had resulted from a policy of leaving
vacancies unfilled.

In
the past three years, BA has cut almost a quarter of its workforce in its main
operations.

“It
has cut 13,000 jobs across the airline. In key areas it is beginning to see
real shortages,” Gold said.

Damien
Horth, airline analyst at
UBS, BA’s stockbroker, told the Financial Times: “The concern is that [the
cuts] have gone too far and that is starting to have an impact on service
quality.”

The
staffing problems could undermine BA when it starts negotiations with unions
over saving an extra £300m in costs by March 2006.

The
disruption came just a few days after BA reached a pay settlement with unions
to avert a threatened strike by more than 10,000 ground staff this weekend.

By Daniel Thomas

 

 

 

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