British Airways has warned staff it is facing a ‘serious’ problem over rising wage costs as the furlough scheme draws to a close.
A memo issued this week, the airline said that its reduced flight schedule did not “line up” with operating costs such as wages, which it said was a problem it needed to manage.
Like many airlines, BA has had to cut or reduce its operations on some routes because of reduced demand during the pandemic.
The memo, reported on by the BBC, said BA’s pay costs would “steeply increase” when the furlough scheme is withdrawn on 30 September, “and any increase is bad news”.
“This means we’re going to have to be as flexible as possible when it comes to the way we work, to help mitigate the situation over the coming months,” it said.
Withdrawal of furlough
“We are in discussions with your trade union representatives, who are as keen as we are to find a way through the winter season and into growth next year.”
A spokesperson for the airline said: “Like many other companies we have been grateful for the support of the furlough scheme.
“Along with the rest of the aviation industry – one of the only sectors that continues to be disrupted by the pandemic – we want the government to continue to protect jobs and maintain skills beyond September. We also want to welcome colleagues and more customers back as soon as possible so we are urging the government to add more low-risk countries to the green list and allow vaccinated customers to travel without restrictions from green and amber countries.
The organisation was forced to put thousands more workers back on furlough in June, shortly after they had begun working again, because of delays in the resumption of international travel.
Last year it said it would need to cut up to 12,000 jobs because of pandemic restrictions.
The sector is still severely disrupted by Covid-19 restrictions, with many people opting for domestic holidays instead of international trips due to worries about countries being added to the red or amber list with little notice, which could require them to quarantine on arrival in the UK.