British Airways chief executive forgoes bonus for second year in a row

For the second year in a row, British Airways’ (BA) chief executive Willie Walsh has turned down his annual bonus of shares, this year worth £334,000.

The Unite union, which is engaged in a long-running dispute with the airline over staffing levels and working conditions, said there would have been “uproar” if he had taken his bonus.

Walsh’s annual salary is £735,000, although he forwent £61,000 – a month’s gross pay – last year as part of cost-cutting measures.

The pay committee at the airline have set him and other directors the challenge of “improving industrial relations” as a specific target for assessing their eligibility for a bonus in 2010-11. If Walsh hits all the targets, he will double his annual pay.

Unite’s assistant general secretary, Len McCluskey, said: “There would have been uproar if Mr Walsh had pocketed a bonus this year. There should be no bonus and no mega-pot of shares until BA sorts the cabin crew dispute.”

Relations between BA and Unite continue to deteriorate, with the union yesterday announcing that it was preparing to ballot its members again on further strike action.

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