'BA's actions should have consequences'

Political pressure mounts for BA to lose lucrative landing slots as cross-party MPs sign pledge

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Over 100 MPs from across the political parties, representing constituents in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, have already signed up to a pledge calling for a UK government review of landing and take-off slots in response to BA’s project fire and rehire.

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. BA’s plans have already prompted the Transport Select Committee to brand the UK’s flag carrying airline a ‘national disgrace’. In contrast, other airlines are not acting in this way. Unite has secured an agreement with Ryanair which will result in no job losses among cabin crew at the airline and that cuts to pay will be temporary.

A new poll revealed that the British public backs tough action against British Airways over its ‘fire and rehire’ plans, with 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 Survation poll of over 2000 people, including over 1219 BA passengers across the UK, revealed that 69% of all those surveyed believed the government should review the UK’s current arrangements on landing slots.

The pledge MPs have signed reads, “We are calling on the Prime Minister to ensure; that if British Airways continues to attack its own workforce and imposes drastic and unnecessary cuts, the Government will act and amend slot regulations to end the current form of allocation including ‘legacy’ or ‘grandfather’ rights.

“That from 2021 the UK Parliament will have the power to set additional local criteria that incentivise internal investment, Social Responsibility and connectivity in return for slot allocation.”

Commenting, Unite executive officer Sharon Graham said, “MPs from across the political divide are united in calling for a review of landing and take-off slots in response to BA’s project fire and rehire. Over 100 MPs have signed the pledge and the number is growing by the day.

“MPs can be confident that they have the backing of the British public who overwhelmingly oppose BA’s project fire and rehire. The public supports tough action against BA, including a review of landing and take-off slots,” she added.

“British Airways’ workers face an unprecedented attack on their jobs, pay and conditions in the middle of the worst health crisis in a century. Meanwhile, the airline’s owner IAG is pressing ahead to buy a Spanish Airline valued at over 1 billion euros,” Graham went on to say.

“There should be consequences to BA’s actions. The company is essentially creating an unrecognisable airline – it should not automatically control over half the landing slots at Heathrow. It is simply wrong for BA to continue to have privileged access to legacy landing slots while its workforce is sacrificed for the benefit of IAG shareholders.”

By Ciaran Naidoo

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