News | Published June 28 2020

BA set to cut long-serving staff pay by one-fifth

British Airways have told their longest-serving cabin crew staff members that they are set to face a 20 per cent pay cut - or lose their jobs.

The aviation industry has suffered through the Covid-19 pandemic, and this is not the first way British Airways has sought to cut costs and raise some money - earlier this month, it announced it would be selling off parts of its artwork collection to raise over a million pounds.

An email the airline issued last night to all staff said the industry would look "very different" after the pandemic, and stipulated that long-serving crew members - who typically earned higher salaries - would need to re-sign under "new terms".

Better-paid staff will apparently be remunerated in line with newcomers to the airline or industry, who are on "market-competitive" pay.

The airline is still looking at making some redundancies, including as many as 12,000 job cuts from its workforce of more than 40,000.

Some MPs have described the announcement as a "national disgrace", and a select committee report released recently stated that the airline was making a "calculated attempt to take advantage" of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the email, BA Head of Inflight Customer Experience said the new contract negotiations would have a "significant impact on staff currently earning significantly more then the current market rate".

"Our proposal would guarantee that if you secure a corresponding role in our new team, we will safeguard your basic pay at at least 80 per cent of your current rate.

"This pay protection proposal provides a 'soft landing' into a new aviation industry that's very different to what any of us have known in the past."

BBC business correspondent Theo Leggett described this as a "concession", as previously there were talks of staff facing cuts as high as 60 per cent.

"It isn't entirely clear," Leggett continued.

"Basic pay is just one part of a cabin crew member's earnings. Staff on the so-called 'legacy fleets' based at Heathrow make a significant chunk of their overall earnings from variable allowances.

"But the threat to staff remains - if an agreement on the changes can't be reached, the company will force the issue - by handing staff their notice and offering them new contracts under different terms.

"It's because of that threat that Unite and GMB are refusing to engage with the company. It has also, all too clearly, alienated many staff."

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The Parliamentary Review

June 28 2020

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