BA staff against pay cuts

| July 6, 2009 | 0 Comments

More than 2,000 British Airways (BA) cabin crew have rejected the company’s proposals to slash costs by freezing pay and reducing headcount.

A deadline of 30 June was set by the company to reach a deal on 3,500 job cuts, a pay freeze and other changes, but no agreement was reached at that time.

Speaking after the meeting, a spokesperson for the Unite union said: “Our members have shown that feelings are running very high. They have sent a very clear message that they don’t want us to make any further concessions that would lead to an assault on their terms and conditions.”

However, workers have instead supported a proposal by Unite, whereby it said it is prepared to consider a two-year freeze on pay which officials said could save between £100 million and £130 million.

Last month, BA said 800 workers had volunteered to work for nothing for up to a month, while the airline’s chief executive, Willie Walsh, confirmed he will work for nothing this month - giving up his monthly salary of more than £60,000.

In May, BA 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.

Mr Walsh admitted recently that the airline was fighting for its survival but BA is not alone. Many airlines continue to experience a slump in demand with many forced out of business last year as the economic downturn means fewer people are travelling by air.

In particular, as companies cut back, the lucrative business and first class services have suffered affecting profits.

In related news, budget airline Ryanair aims to slash costs and boost profits by asking passengers to stand during flights. The airline’s chief executive, Michael O’Leary, has already spoken with US plane manufacturer Boeing about the possibility of designing an aircraft with standing room.

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