British Airways’ (BA/BAW) parent company International Airlines Group (IAG) has confirmed that it is to press ahead with the planned cuts to thousands of Pilots, Cabin Crew and Ground staff despite the UK Government extending the furlough scheme until October.
Transport Select Committee Chair Huw Merriman MP and Chris Loder MP were amongst the MP’s that called on IAG to put the plans “back in the hold” but outgoing IAG Chief Executive Willie Walsh put that idea swiftly to the sword.
In a letter to Huw Merriman MP, Mr Walsh said “I was pleased to see the announcement by the Chancellor that the CJRS is being extended. We commend the Chancellor for his decision and applaud his efforts to breathe some life into a dying economy” but then confirmed, “we will not pause our consultations or put our plans on hold.”
In reply to Mr Walsh’s letter, Huw Merriman MP said “It is very disappointing that British Airways seem determined to press ahead with devastating cuts to their workforce despite the Government furlough scheme being extended until the end of October.
“On the one hand, BA are happy to take taxpayers’ money from the furlough scheme which was designed to help companies avoid redundancies. Yet on the other, BA is ploughing ahead with a cull of their workforce and a lowering of terms and conditions.
“This is not what people would expect from our national flag carrier. BA’s loyal staff deserve better than to be treated like this.“
The cuts are currently facing a legal challenge from at least one union representing British Airways staff. Unite is seeking a Protective Award under Section 188 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 on the basis that British Airways is in breach of its obligations.
Chris Loder MP, who also called for IAG to halt the cuts, today sent an impassioned letter to British Airways staff who had contacted him about the situation.
In the letter, he told them “I know that sense of pride in our national flag-carrying airline that you have. I have it too. And I know that it is shared by thousands and thousands of our fellow citizens across the United Kingdom.
“I hear, feel and share your fears and anxieties. The aviation industry is going through the most prolonged turbulence it has ever seen. And with the constriction of the economy it is very sad, but inevitable, that there will be job losses“
He went on to tell British Airways staff to prepare to be resilient in the weeks and months ahead before promising to support them as much as he can.