Celebrities back Unite's British Airways campaign

Celebrities take to social media to slam BA as Unite campaign gains momentum

Reading time: 5 min

When British Airways announced it would be sacking 12,000 of its workers – despite being a wealthy company that can ride out the crisis and what’s more, there being ample government support to prevent such job losses – the nation looked on in horror.

Here was one of the UK’s premier airlines – one that trades on the name of Britain and its pride of country – betraying not only its workforce but all of us. When it was time for people and businesses to pull together and do their bit, British Airways failed in a big way and has used the current crisis as an excuse to cause needless suffering for tens of thousands of its loyal, hard-working staff.

Now, the airline is not only refusing to reverse its decision on jobs losses but it’s planning to sack and rehire  more than 40,000 more workers on new contracts that will see their pay cut  by an astonishing 70 per cent.

The airline is also refusing to negotiate with Unite. Later today (June 3), Parliament will debate job losses in the aviation industry after an Urgent Question was raised, with British Airways’ appalling behaviour set to be under the microscope.

The union has vowed to take a stand to protect its members and so has launched a new campaign to pressure British Airways to do the right thing. The campaign, launched in May, is already making big waves publicly, including gaining the endorsement of many celebrities.

Esteemed comedian, actor and writer Stephen Fry was among the first to chime in.

Actor Nina Wadia, known for her role in the soap EastEnders, also took to social media to air her disgust with British Airways.

As did presenter and broadcaster Jeremy Vine, who highlighted that he personally knows many BA cabin crew.

BAFTA award-winning actor Thandie Newton called on her Twitter followers to sign Unite’s petition.

Meanwhile politicians, such as Labour MP and former shadow chancellor John McDonnell, also endorsed the campaign. McDonnell shared images of a message to BA that was last week projected onto big landmarks in London.

Most recently, presenter Piers Morgan has also lent his support to the campaign.

When the campaign first launched, Unite general secretary Len McCluskey explained the motivation behind Unite’s campaign.

“Unite has tried to engage constructively with British Airways,” he said. “If BA are not trying to use this crisis for corporate gain, then why has the company not agreed to come to the table to seek temporary measures until revenue returns?

“BA’s plan to use the worst health crisis in a century to strip loyal workers of their terms and conditions is a betrayal of workers and of Britain.

“We are launching a major public campaign to alert BA’s customers, shareholders and partners both in Britain and internationally, of the severe and permanent damage being done at a time of national crisis.”

You can find out all about Unite’s British Airways campaign and how you can take part on our website here.

By Hajera Blagg

Related Articles