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British Airways Threatens to Fire and Re-Hire Pilots on New Contracts
In a letter issued by its pilot union to all members, British Airways has stated that it will fire all its pilot workforce and offer jobs under new terms and conditions, should no agreement be reached with the union.
The letter sent out by the British Airline Pilots’ Association, BALPA, viewed by AirlineGeeks to all its members, has informed pilots that British Airways has also increased the number of redundancies the company expects to make following the impact of the Coronavirus on the aviation industry.
“BA advise us that as a result of their revised fleet plan the new notice has increased the proposed number of pilot jobs under threat from 955 pilots to 1080. This excludes the 175 jobs under threat as a result of the company’s efficiency targets,” BALPA wrote.
The adjustment means that from a total of 4,300 pilots across British Airways’ fleets, a total of 1,255 pilots could potentially be dismissed, up from the original figure of 1,130. The airline had given notice of the original figure back at the end of March, as part of a wider 30% cut in its workforce across the company.
The letter also informed pilots working for the British flag carrier, that if they do not accept any changes to working terms and conditions, they could potentially lose their current job and be re-hired on a different contract.
BALPA said, “British Airways intention to see changes to terms and conditions is restated in the updated S188 (legal notice to the union). However, crucially it states that if BA and BALPA are unable to reach an agreement, the company would seek to force changes by terminating the employment of all pilots and offering individuals new contracts with associated new terms and conditions. We cannot begin to describe the level of disappointment and annoyance this has caused.”
Brian Strutton, General Secretary of the pilot union, said he is, “appalled at the cavalier attitude shown by BA. It calls into question whether BA is even capable of conducting industrial relations properly and whether anything they say can be trusted…talks with the airline hang by a thread.”
Willie Walsh, CEO Internation Airlines Group, which owns British Airways, has been publically speaking regarding the changes across the company. Speaking to Sky News on Friday, the out-going boss said, “I am not involved in the consultation, it’s the responsibility of the BA management team. The reports I get are that some progress has been made.”
In an attempt to help reduce the number of pilot redundancies, BALPA has been trying to work with the airline since notice was originally given. All pilots took a month of unpaid leave spread out over three months instead of being placed on the government Job Retention Scheme, whereas most cabin crew were put on furlough.
Following the discussions with the union, British Airways said that any potential furloughed pilots being placed on the JRS would come from the Airbus A380, Boeing 747, A320 Gatwick as well as some A320 Heathrow fleet.
British Airways has faced a barrage of negative media following the virus pandemic. It has also given its cabin crew union the same ultimatum of accepting new contracts or potentially making a large number of crew redundant on their old contracts.
Saturday’s news comes as no surprises as airlines across Europe look to take advantage of reducing the cost of its workforce as a way of redeeming some of the losses that have affected airline finance departments.
British Airways has yet to make a comment.
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