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11,000 British Airways staff handed redundancies

written by Hannah Dowling | August 10, 2020

A British Airways Airbus A380. (Rob Finlayson)
A British Airways Airbus A380. (Rob Finlayson)

British Airways has issued redundancy letters to approximately 10,700 cabin crew, engineers and airport staff, while pushing ahead with its ‘fire and rehire’ plans for existing staff.

Of the nearly 11,000 redundancies, around 6,000 were voluntary, although some older members of staff, particularly cabin crew, have told the media that they “felt forced” into taking the redundancy package.

“It’s actually age discrimination, we were forced out,” one long-standing BA cabin crew member told the BBC.

Staff who did not opt to take a voluntary redundancy were reportedly informed via letter on Friday about their fate with the company, which saw an additional near 5,000 staff members made redundant.

Those who were not made redundant were likely informed that they would be required to sign a new contract under much poorer terms, particularly for anyone who has been with the company for over 10 years. 

Staff hired prior to 2010 can expect pay cuts of up to 20 per cent, however when accounting for lower allowances and extras, take home pay could be cut by up to 50 per cent under the new contracts.

Meanwhile, those hired after 2010 – who are reportedly on far cheaper contracts – could see modest improvements in their salaries.


UK workers union Unite has publicly slammed British Airways for its controversial ‘fire and rehire’ policy.

Unite’s assistant general secretary, Howard Beckett, said, “This is a very bleak day for the incredible BA workforce and will go down in the history of the airline as the day that it put the interests of the boardroom ahead of its passengers and workforce. 

“These workers have given years of dedicated service to this company, some as many as 40 years, and indeed to our country as many were involved in the repatriation of British citizens at the outset of this pandemic. Today they will be dismissed by email by an employer whose spiteful mistreatment of them is nothing other than despicable.”

He continued: “This company has displayed scant regard for either employment law or basic common decency – we cannot trust them to do the right thing by this workforce so we will be doing everything in our power to prevent this continued industrial thuggery.”

The practice has also been condemned in British Parliament, with the chair of the Transport Select Committee, Conservative Huw Merriman, describing it as “the equivalent of putting a gun to someone’s head”.

The news comes after the airline struck a deal with its 4,300 pilots, which will see 20 per cent pay cuts throughout the COVID-19 crisis, with a longer term 8 per cent pay reduction.

The deal was made to protect a vast majority of pilot jobs within the company, with only 270 pilots to be made redundant.


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