British Airways has confirmed today that its plans to make 12,000 job cuts will go ahead, and more than 6,000 employees have opted to take voluntary redundancy.
The airline, owned by IAG, will send out letters to staff today to confirm whether their role will be made redundant. If their role is not being cut, they will be informed whether they will need to accept a new contract or stay on their old one.
BA – like other airlines – has been hit hard by the pandemic and is currently only operating around 20% of its scheduled flights.
However, members of the union Unite plan to stage a series of protests between Saturday 8 August and Monday 10 August outside airports and other locations to share their anger at how the redundancies have been handled.
Unite has shared a digital postcard on social media, urging the public to send chancellor Rishi Sunak the message: “Wish you were here – to save UK aviation jobs”.
Unite assistant general secretary Diana Holland said: “In March, Rishi Sunak pledged assistance for the UK’s aviation sector, which supports well over a million jobs directly and indirectly and contributes £22 billion to the economy every year. Over four months later, help is still yet to arrive, with thousands of jobs lost as a result.
“The government has ignored warning after warning in the months since the pandemic began and this crucial industry is now facing being devastated, even as other countries have taken decisive steps to protect their aviation sectors. Mr Sunak must follow their example and take urgent action.”
Unite national officer Oliver Richardson said that it was crucial that “employers avoid knee-jerk reactions”, taking the approach by companies such as Ryanair, which has worked with unions to come up with options such as temporary pay reductions and job pooling.
Unite and other unions, including the TUC, want the government to implement a series of support measures for the aviation sector, including the extension and modification of the furlough scheme to protect jobs.
In April, IAG announced there would be a major restructuring of the BA business, resulting in around 12,000 redundancies.
Earlier this week, BA confirmed it had reached a deal with pilots union Balpa on a temporary pay cut of 20%, reducing to 8% over two years, and a limited number of compulsory job cuts.
Unions have previously condemned BA’s plans to issue other staff, including cabin crew, with new terms and conditions, calling it a policy of “fire and rehire”.