Responding to the news that British Airways is to embark on yet another attempt to drive down pay and conditions for workers at the airline, Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “The creation of these new posts confirms what Unite said last year — there was never any need to sack thousands of dedicated BA staff.
“Last summer, British Airways became the first major employer to embark on the abhorrent practice of ‘fire and rehire’, sacking thousands of dedicated staff,” she added.
“Now, fewer than 12 months later BA is championing its intention to recruit thousands of new staff, insultingly even asking those crew it sacked needlessly last year to re-apply on substantially reduced terms and conditions,” Graham continued.
“It is yet another bad faith act from a business that should be focusing on repairing both a tattered workforce and customer relations, not cutting yet more corners in order to reward the boardroom.
“At the same time the company is also refusing to remove the additional threat to lay off existing employees in the lead up to Christmas and over the winter season,” she went on to say. “BA staff have no idea if they will have a job or a wage at the end of the year. This insecurity is deplorable. It must be removed.
“As we know with BA, what begins as an attack on cabin crew soon becomes an attack on the whole the workforce.
“My unwavering opposition to ‘fire and rehire’ is a matter of record. I will ensure that the full resources of Unite are brought to bear in challenging any and all pay and job destroying actions by BA and its parent company IAG.”
In 2020, BA made 10,000 staff redundant, 4,700 of which were cabin crew. Those that remained were forced to accept pay cuts and demotions which meant their salaries dropped by between 15 and 35 per cent.
Unite believes that BA is looking to hire around 3,000 new crew.
Unite national officer for civil aviation Oliver Richardson added, “Last year, over 10,000 employees were made redundant as we fought off the company’s attempt to impose ‘fire and rehire’.
“Those who lost their jobs were loyal employees who gave their working lives to building British Airways into the global brand it is,” he noted.
“Those who kept their jobs were told BA was facing a permanent reduction in its size and that the cuts to their terms and conditions was the price they had to pay to keep their jobs.
“Clearly, as we said at the time, this was simply untrue,” Richardson continued.
“BA took hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money but has repaid the country with what amounts to little more than repeated and opportunistic cost cutting and sackings at a moment of national crisis.”
By Barckley Sumner