Thousands of British Airways cabin crew and ground staff will find out today if they will lose their jobs or face pay cuts after more than 6,000 employees accepted voluntary redundancy.
Those who do not volunteer for redundancy and then refuse a new role under the new terms could be dismissed – with the possibility of then being re-employed again if they later decide to accept a different job.
The union Unite claimed the pay cuts could be as much as 50 per cent – although the airline denies this.
BA’s owner IAG announced in April it would cut up to 12,000 jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Unite says the company is planning to rehire the remaining 30,000 employees on downgraded terms and conditions if an agreement cannot be reached in what they have branded ‘fire and rehire proposals’.
A source at the airline today told MailOnline Unite was ‘incorrect’ as some staff would be allowed to stay on the same contracts but declined to give a figure.
British Airways staff will find out today if they will lose their jobs or face pay cuts. BA insists some staff will be allowed to stay on their current contracts
British Airways is still flying less than 20 per cent of its schedule five months after the crisis began and recently logged a £3.4billion pre-tax loss in the first half of the year.
What will BA staff be finding out today?
Employees will receive one of three letters today.
1 – They are staying at BA on the same contract;
2 – They are moving a new role but they will have to sign a new contract, most likely with lower pay and worse terms and conditions;
3 – They will be made redundant. These people will then have the option of entering the airline’s ‘Priority Return Talent Pool’ and be fast-tracked to any new jobs that become available.
But its plans to dramatically cut staffing levels and change other employees’ terms and conditions has led to a wave of criticism, with MPs on the Commons Transport Committee declaring it a ‘national disgrace’.
Earlier this week, Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said the airline was wrong to believe it could ‘walk all over’ its staff.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr McCluskey said: ‘Our flag carrier, who employs 42,000 workers, they want to sack 12,000 and the other 30,000 they want to fire and rehire on considerably worse terms and conditions.
‘It’s nothing short of industrial thuggery.’
Merrill April, an employment lawyer at CN Murray, today said so called ‘fire and rehire’ arrangements were legal in some circumstances.
‘That is what is happening and yes, it is allowed,’ she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
‘The law says that if the law has a sound business reason to introduce changes to the employee’s terms and conditions and if they try to agree that and are unable to then they are able to enforce that change by dismissing the employees on their current times and re-employing them on new ones, which could be less favourable.’
Willie Walsh, the chief executive of International Airlines Group, has accused Unite of ignoring the financial impact of coronavirus
IAG chief executive Willie Walsh recently described Unite as being ‘blind and deaf’ in relation to the financial impact of the pandemic.
PILOTS’ DEAL WITH BA
On Friday, British Airways pilots voted to accept the deal negotiated by BALPA – the pilots’ union – in response to BA’s formal notification of 1255 pilot job losses and their threat to fire and rehire the remaining pilots on worse conditions.
The deal means that there will be temporary 20% pay cuts reducing to 8% over two years and towards zero over the longer term.
There will still be some compulsory redundancies which are currently estimated to be 270 although BALPA has said that number will fall as mitigations take effect. There will be no firing and rehiring of pilots.
British Airways pilots last week voted to accept a package including job and pay cuts aimed at avoiding a larger number of redundancies.
Pilots’ union Balpa said there will be around 270 compulsory redundancies and temporary pay cuts starting at 20% and reducing to 8% over two years – before falling to zero over the longer term.
Mr McCluskey said Unite – which represents thousands of British Airways staff including cabin crew and engineers – would accept the same deal if it was available.
British Airways recently said it is ‘not too late to find solutions – as we have done with Balpa – and to protect jobs’.
The airline does not expect demand for air travel to return to pre-pandemic levels until at least 2023.
A BA spokesman said: ‘Our half year results, published last week, clearly show the enormous financial impact of Covid-19 on our business.
‘We are having to make difficult decisions and take every possible action now to protect as many jobs as possible.
‘And, while we never could have anticipated being in a position of making redundancies, more than 6,000 of our colleagues have now indicated that they wish to take voluntary redundancy from BA.’
135,000 Britons now face the AXE amid fear of ‘economic Armageddon’ as day after day the Covid jobs bloodbath takes its devastating toll
By Tom Witherow, Business Correspondent for the Daily Mail
The scale of the Covid-19 jobs bloodbath has been laid bare as a Mail audit found 135,000 jobs in Britain are facing the axe.
Analysis of the threat of redundancies since the virus took hold has revealed 230,000 jobs are set to go both here and abroad at more than 100 of Britain’s biggest firms.
The lay-offs continued on Wednesday as WH Smith announced it would cull 1,500 staff, mostly at train stations and airports, due to a collapse in the number of commuters and holidaymakers.
The scale of the Covid-19 jobs bloodbath has been laid bare as a Mail audit found 135,000 jobs in Britain are facing the axe
Clothing chain M&Co will shut 47 stores and shed 380 jobs after going bust in April, while bookmaker William Hill said 119 of its betting shops will shut due to a lack of customers.
Last night it also emerged that about 1,500 staff at hotels managed by LGH in England and Scotland could lose their jobs. Its hotels include Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn and Hallmark.
It follows announcements from Pizza Express, Currys PC World, Hays Travel and DW Sports, which are slashing up to 4,470 jobs between them.
The scale of job losses will intensify the pressure on the Government to get Britain back to work and to toughen the message to employers and staff.
Little more than a third (34 per cent) of UK staff are back at their desks, with the remainder continuing to work from home.
Since lockdown was imposed on March 23, the following companies have announced major job cuts…
LGH (hotel group – 1,500 at risk
WH Smith – 1,500
M&Co – 380
Dixons Carphone – 800
Pizza Express – at risk 1,10
Hays Travel – up to 878
DW Sports – at risk 1,700
Byron – 651
Pendragon – 1,800
Selfridges – 450
Oak Furnitureland – at risk 163
Dyson – 600 plus 300 abroad
Mears – fewer than 200
Fortnum & Mason – 50
Marks & Spencer – at risk 950
Azzurri Group – up to 1,200
Genting – at risk 1,642
Burberry – 150 plus 350 abroad
Banks Mining – at risk 250
Buzz Bingo – at risk 57
Vertu – 345
DFS – at risk 200
General Electric – 369
Boots – 4,000
John Lewis – at risk 1,300
Burger King – at risk 1,600
Polypipe – 250
Reach (newspaper group) – 550
Pret a Manger – at risk 1,000
Luton Airport – 250
Casual Dining Group – 1,909
SSP (owns Upper Crust) – at risk 5,000
Arcadia (owns TopShop) – 500
Harrods – 700
Virgin Money – 300
Accenture – 900
Norwich Theatre Royal – 113
Willmott Dixon – 100
TM Lewin – 600
Wright’s Pies – 80
Harveys – 240
Royal Mail- 2,000
Jet2 – 102
Swissport – 4,556
Crest Nicholson – 130
Aer Lingus – 500
Jaguar Land Rover – 1,100
Travis Perkins – 2,500
Le Pain Quotidien – 200
Heathrow – 25,000
Bombardier – 600 plus 1,900 abroad
Johnson Matthey – 2,500
Centrica – 5,000
Grant Thornton – 70
Quiz – 93
Restaurant Group – 3,000
Monsoon Accessorise -545
Everest Windows – 188
BP – worldwide 10,000
Mulberry – 375
Victoria’s Secret – at risk 800
Bentley – 1,000
Aston Martin – 500
Lookers – 1,500
Triumph – 240 plus 160 abroad
Belfast International Airport – 45
EasyJet – 1,900 plus 2,600 abroad
McLaren – 1,200
Shearings Holidays – 2,500
Carluccio’s – 1,000
Clarks – 900
Rolls-Royce – 6,000 plus 3,000 abroad
Ovo Energy – 2,600
Antler – 164
JCB – at risk 950
The Economist – worldwide 90
Tui – 270 plus 7,730 abroad
Carnival UK – 450
P&O Ferries – worldwide 1,100
Virgin Atlantic – 3,150
Ryanair – worldwide 3,000
Oasis Warehouse – 1,800
Deliveroo – worldwide 350
British Airways – 12,000
Safran Seats – 400
Meggitt – worldwide 1,800
Cath Kidston – 900
Debenhams – 422
Laura Ashley – 268
BrightHouse – at risk 2,400 March 27
Chiquito – at risk 1,500
John Menzies – worldwide 17,500