'Industrial thuggery of the worst kind'

Unite GS Len McCluskey hits back against BA’s claims that job and pay cuts are necessary

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Unite general secretary Len McCluskey today (August 3) accused British Airways of ‘industrial thuggery’ as the airline has vowed to press ahead with redundancies and pay cuts.

Justifying the airline’s plans, Willie Walsh, CEO of British Airways’ parent company IAG said last week that demand would not pick up to 2019 levels until 2023, noting, “Each airline has taken actions to adjust their business and reduce their cost base to reflect forecast demand in their markets not just to get through this crisis but to ensure they remain competitive in a structurally changed industry.”

But McCluskey, speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, hit back against Walsh’s comments.

“Because most of our members are furloughed, they are in a vulnerable position and [Mr Walsh] believes he can walk all over them,” he said.

“No other company in the rest of the UK has adopted this type of tactic, this scorched-earth approach.

“For months and months we’ve been making it clear to British Airways that of course we recognise they are in deep financial difficulties,” he added.

“The whole of the aviation sector is, and the whole of the manufacturing sector is, and we want to sit down and discuss how we can assist them getting through this crisis.”

Hear more from Len’s interview in the clip below:

You can find out more about Unite’s British Airways campaign, BABetrayal, on the campaign website here.

Clip compiled by Martin Scanlon

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