BA workers reject appeals for pay freeze and job cuts

More than 2,000 British Airways workers at a mass meeting this morning denounced the airline’s plans to reduce costs by cutting jobs and freezing pay as an “assault” on their terms and conditions and voted to reject the proposals.

Conciliation service Acas was called in last week after the airline and staff failed to reach a settlement. The first meeting between BA and unions is expected to be held on Wednesday (8 July).

BA has been striving to cut costs in the recession. It originally set a deadline of 30 June to agree new terms, which included 3,500 job cuts, and a pay freeze, but no agreement was made.

In May, the airline reported a record annual loss of £401m. It immediately called for 100 pilots to apply for voluntary redundancy.

In June BA wrote to its 40,000 staff asking for volunteers to work for free. The group said it had a positive response as 800 workers volunteered to work for nothing, fuelling fears that a two-tier workforce would emerge.

BA chief Willie Walsh has already agreed to work unpaid in July, forgoing his month’s salary of £61,000.

A British Airways spokesman said: “The talks didn’t reach a conclusion by last Tuesday (30 June) so we have called Acas in. We are still discussing when the meeting between Acas, unions and BA will be held.”

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