Unite has launched a major UK wide campaign against ‘opportunistic plans’ by British Airways to use the pandemic to ‘betray thousands of staff and the public’.
It says BA’s cost cutting plans, which include entering consulation over 12,000 jobs, are a cynical use of the Covid-19 crisis as a cover for corporate greed.
The union claims BA’s parent, IAG, is not not in any threat of insolvency and sits on assets and reserves that could see it through the crisis without permanent cuts or redundancies. It also pays dividends to shareholders in the billions, it argues.
In addition, it said BA accessed taxpayers’ money by taking advantage of the Government’s Job Retention Scheme.
It said BA has used the crisis to simply dust off an old plan to strip terms and conditions from BA workers.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey has written to members of the board of IAG copied to Willie Walsh, IAG CEO and Luis Gallego Martin, chairman and CEO of Iberia.
The letter says: “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.”
McCluskey added: “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.”
A spokesman for BA said: “We are acting now to protect as many jobs possible. The airline industry is facing the deepest structural change in its history, as well as facing a severely weakened global economy. We are committed to consulting openly with our unions and our people as we prepare for a new future.”