BA should face slots review says angry public

Poll out today shows public think BA is ‘damaging brand’ over ‘fire and rehire’ staff move 

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A new poll out today (July 6) reveals that the British public backs tough action against British Airways over its ‘fire and rehire’ plans – with both Conservative and Labour voters giving strong support for the introduction of legislation to strip the nation’s flag carrying airline of its privileged access to UK landing slots.

A poll of over 2,000 people, including over 1,219 BA passengers across the UK, conducted by Survation, reveals that 69 per cent of all those surveyed believed the government should review the UK’s current arrangements on landing slots (versus just 16 per cent saying the government should not) with 76 per cent of Conservative voters backing a review.

British Airways stands accused of using a global health pandemic as cover to impose a long-term plan to ‘fire and rehire‘ the majority of its staff in order to re-engage them on inferior terms and conditions – while making up to 12,000 redundant.

The majority of those polled believe BA is wrong to terminate staff and re-employ them on reduced terms and conditions in the middle of a health crisis (70 per cent) and just 14 per cent of those polled trusted BA to give out fair and accurate information.

Unite executive officer, Sharon Graham said, “It’s clear that Britain wants the government to get tough on the nation’s flag carrying airline for its disgraceful plans to fire and rehire its staff while cutting thousands of jobs.

“The airline is stripping its loyal workforce of their terms and conditions while sacking thousands in the middle of a health crisis. If BA presses ahead to create a new and unrecognisable airline, it should not continue to benefit from its domination of lucrative legacy take-off and landing slots.

“British Airways has lost the trust of its workforce, politicians and the country. The only way British Airways can retrieve its reputation as the ‘world’s best loved airline’ and protect its lucrative landing slots, is to withdraw its unprecedented attack on staff and enter into sensible negotiations,” Graham concluded.

In a statistic that should alarm BA, the poll revealed that almost half (49 per cent) of those polled who have travelled with BA in the past say they are less likely to use the airline in the future given the dispute, with the number rising to 53 per cent for respondents who fly with BA three times a year.

Summary of poll findings: 

  • A large majority of the UK public, 62 per cent, believes BA is taking advantage of a national crisis to make more profits for shareholders vs the 20 per cent who believed it was not. This includes 66 per cent of people who voted Conservative in the December General Election (66 per cent of Labour voters and 70 per cent Lib Dem);
  • A large majority of the public, 70 per cent, believes BA is wrong to make staff redundant and then re-employ them on reduced terms and conditions at this time vs just 15 per cent who said BA was right;
  • 67 per cent of the public believe the government should not offer BA further financial support given the company’s actions vs 19 per cent who said they should (14 per cent don’t know (DK));
  • 69 per cent believes allocation of landing slots should be reviewed by the government vs 16 per cent who said they should not (15 per cent DK). 76 per cent of Conservative 2019 voters believe allocation of landing slots should be reviewed by the government (69 per cent Labour, 65 per cent Lib Dem);
  • 65 per cent believed companies that are using the government’s furlough scheme should not be allowed to also place those staff on notice of redundancy vs 21 per cent who believed they should.


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By Ciaran Naidoo 

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