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Friday 19th of June 2009
June 16, 2009

BA appeals to staff as it fights for survival


by Kay Murchie
”BA

British Airways (BA) has asked 40,000 members of staff to work for nothing as the airline admitted it was fighting for survival.

Last month, the airline reported a pre-tax loss of £401 million for the 12 months to the end of March, compared with profits of £922 million the previous year.

The loss represented the biggest since the company was privatised in 1987.

Many airlines continue to experience a slump in demand with many forced out of business last year. According to the International Air Transport Association, passenger numbers plummeted 11% in March compared to the same month last year.

BA’s chief executive, Willie Walsh, has already confirmed he will work for nothing in July - giving up his monthly salary of more than £60,000.

According to BA, hundreds of its workers have responded positively to the request but the proposal has been condemned by employees and unions who said the priority should lie in making improvements to the management of the airline.

One BA worker told the BBC: “It’s a big no. A very big no. Everyone is up in arms. We’re not taking it. I’d love to take a month’s unpaid leave but I can’t afford to do that.”

BA is looking to axe 4,000 jobs, including 2,000 voluntary redundancies among the 14,000 cabin crew, in an attempt to cut costs.

Last week, there was speculation that the airline is looking to close its final salary pension scheme. Other companies have been announcing similar measures over the last week in order to cut costs.

BA has asked members of staff to volunteer by the end of this month for between one week and one month of unpaid leave or unpaid work. The lost salary will be spread over between three and six months.

Other airlines including Cathay Pacific are introducing similar proposals, according to BA.

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Tags: , , fighting, , pay cuts, , unpaid leave, Willie Walsh

 

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