Easington MP Grahame Morris questioned Willie Walsh, CEO of International Airlines Group, the parent company of British Airways, on proposals to make 12,000 staff redundant.
Grahame Morris questioned Willie Walsh as part of a Transport Select Committee evidence session on the future of the aviation industry, which followed a joint letter from MPs calling on BA to reverse their decision on staff redundancies.
In a letter to Alex Cruz, British Airways CEO, MPs state, ‘with most British Airways workers already on furlough through the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, we would have expected you to work with both Unite the Union, BALPA and the government to keep these workers on this scheme until it ends and not to, instead, pursue redundancies and reduce terms and conditions of worker’s contracts.’
General Secretary of The British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) Brian Strutton said, ‘this has come as a bolt out of the blue from an airline that said it was wealthy enough to weather the COVID storm and declined any Government support. BALPA does not accept that a case has been made for these job losses and we will be fighting to save every single one.’
Mr Stratton wrote to the Chancellor of the Exchequer last week, calling on the government to ‘insist on a moratorium on job cuts and opportunistic attacks on terms and conditions’ by the aviation sector until all stakeholders have agreed on a comprehensive plan. BALPA is also challenging Virgin Atlantic over their announcement on 5th May of over 3000 proposed job losses. Mr Strutton described it as ‘another terrible blow for the industry,’ and stressed that the union ‘will be challenging Virgin very hard to justify this.’
MPs commended the work of BA staff during the pandemic, who are on the global transport frontline – often without the correct PPE – operating repatriation flights for citizens stuck abroad.
Grahame Morris MP said, “It is undeniable that the pandemic has had a colossal impact on the aviation industry.
There has been insufficient consultation with trade unions and government on the part of the sector to safeguard job.
I urgently call on all airlines to work with unions and government to protect staff, many of whom have played a vital role in the coronavirus response.
Safeguarding the UK aviation sector will be essential to rebuilding the economy after this pandemic, and we will need a greater input from airlines and the government in the months ahead.”
British Airways redundancies (EDM #438) Primary Sponsor: Grahame Morris MP
Grahame Morris MP: Transport Select Committee – BA Job Losses
Grahame Morris MP: Transport Select Committee – Passenger & Staff Safety (Covid-19 & BA)
Joint MP Letter to British Airways opposing redundancy plan