Unite will launch a major UK wide campaign today (May 22) against BA’s opportunistic plans to use the COVID-19 pandemic to betray thousands of staff and the public.
The company has served BA workers with a Section 188 notice which effectively sacks 42,000 workers to bring the workers back on considerably worse terms and conditions. The measure will also cut up to 12,000 staff.
Unite has higlighted that IAG, BA’s parent company is not in any threat of insolvency. It sits on assets and reserves that could see it through this crisis without the need for permanent cuts or redundancies.
What’s more, the company pays dividends to shareholders in the billions. British Airways has also accessed taxpayers’ money by taking advantage of the Government’s Job Retention Scheme.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey has written to members of the board of IAG copied to Willie Walsh, IAG CEO and Luis Gallego Martín, Chairman and CEO of Iberia.
In the letter McCluskey wrote, “I have no option but to do all I can to protect my members and shine a light on your betrayal of Britain and your cynical use of this crisis as cover for your corporate greed. In the first stages, I have authorised a multifaceted campaign in defence of our members. This as you may know means that we will ensure that the public, customers, businesses and all other stakeholders, will be made aware of your deplorable actions and the detail of how you as a company have acted in this crisis. All interested parties will be engaged by all and any means possible and I am sure that many will make decisions in light of your actions.”
Whilst NHS workers have been saving lives and many BA staff have been volunteering to help during the current health crisis, British Airways management used the time to dust off an old plan to strip terms and conditions from BA workers.
Commenting on the launch of the campaign, McCluskey said, “Unite has tried to engage constructively with British Airways. 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,” he added.
“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.”
By Ciaran Naidoo