Thousands of British Airways workers apply for voluntary redundancy

Over 6,000 British Airways staff including cabin crew, engineers, and airports staff have applied for voluntary redundancy according to the airline.

Of these, 4,500 are cabin crew based at Heathrow and Gatwick.

Howard Beckett, Unite’s assistant general secretary, said: “This is a very bleak day for the incredible BA workforce and will go down in the history of the airline as the day that it put the interests of the boardroom ahead of its passengers and workforce.

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“These workers have given years of dedicated service to this company, some as many as 40 years, and indeed to our country, as many were involved in the repatriation of British citizens at the outset of this pandemic.

“Today they will be dismissed by email by an employer whose spiteful mistreatment of them is nothing other than despicable.”

He went on: “This company has displayed scant regard for either employment law or basic common decency. We cannot trust them to do the right thing by this workforce, so we will be doing everything in our power to prevent this continued industrial thuggery.

“Make no mistake, 4,000 loyal workers are being forced out of the jobs that they love today by naked, company greed.”

A spokesperson for the airline told The Independent: “Our half year results, published last week, clearly show the enormous financial impact of COVID-19 on our business.

“We are having to make difficult decisions and take every possible action now to protect as many jobs as possible.

“And, while we never could have anticipated being in a position of making redundancies, more than 6,000 of our colleagues have now indicated that they wish to take voluntary redundancy from BA.”

British Airways has been flying at reduced capacity since the start of the pandemic. At present, it is operating less than 20 per cent of its normal schedule.

Last month, The Independent reported that British Airways is planning to keep most of its £200m headquarters near Heathrow empty as part of its unprecedented cost-cutting campaign.

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