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British Airways accused of 'industrial thuggery' for planned fire-and-rehire attack on workforce

LEN McCLUSKEY accused British Airways of “industrial thuggery” today over its plans to fire and rehire 30,000 staff and sack a further 12,000.

BA’s owner IAG announced in April that it would cut the jobs due to the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis on air travel. 

Unite believes that the company is also preparing to fire and hire a further 30,000 cabin and engineer staff despite having offered a deal to pilots last week to avoid mass redundancies. 

The union’s general secretary accused the airline today of exploiting the pandemic “to drive down the terms and conditions of crew and staff,” as part of a wider plan to reposition BA as a “low cost” airline. 

Mr McCluskey said that the union would accept the offer made to BA pilots, which accepts job cuts with the aim of steering clear of mass redundancies. 

Pilots’ union Balpa said that there will be about 270 compulsory redundancies and temporary pay cuts starting at 20 per cent and reducing to 8 per cent over two years before falling to zero in the long term.

“British Airways are not offering the same deal [to other staff],” Mr McCluskey said. “It is thuggery of the worst industrial kind.

“The reality is that the pilots were never faced with the drastic ‘fire and rehire’ strategy that is being imposed on the overwhelming majority of the BA workforce.”
  
On Friday, IAG announced that it made a pre-tax loss of £3.8 billion in the first six months of the year. 

However, Mr McCluskey argued that the choices of airline bosses to cut selective deals “remind us all that it is not in the dire straits it claims.”

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