16 Mar

Unite Emergency Update COVID-19 – British Airways

This morning British Airways CEO Alex Cruz met with Assistant General Secretary Diana Holland, National Officer for Aviation Oliver Richardson and Senior reps from all areas of British Airways.

The message delivered was a stark one.

In line with the statement issued by the IAG group earlier today, British Airways expects to reduce its flying programme by 75%. Although we must remain optimistic that this is only a temporary measure, even if an extreme measure, whilst we experience this downturn in business. Of even greater concern is that currently this is only a snapshot in time and although things could improve, they could also worsen over the coming months.

It is obvious that the resulting impact upon staff will be significant. Because of this British Airways have issued an HR-1 covering every area of British Airways. This is a legal notification of staff at risk of redundancy.

Our task will be to mitigate as much as is possible that risk, but to do so difficult decisions will have to be taken. Today’s press coverage of the measures other airlines are taking is a clear indication of the financial impact upon the aviation industry and undoubtedly significantly worse than any other crisis we have faced. The likelihood is that more airlines
will to go out of business. Although BA remains financially strong, that will not remain the case unless immediate measures are taken.

At this point, no one should be under the impression that this is going to be anything other than an unprecedentedly difficult period and the decisions we take will not be easy but we have little choice but to make them if we are to ensure longer term security for all of us. To do so will involve short term pain and the response must be measured, shared equally and
above all be fair.

What that means, the size of the task and what we will need to do to avoid or reduce job losses, is not yet clear but discussions directly with Alex Cruz and his team will resume tomorrow on what that will look like. Time is critical and these measures will be needed within days, not weeks or months.

This is a difficult message but these are difficult times. We must stand together and work together to help each other through this.

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