30 Apr

Member Update – 30th April 2020

What just happened?
 
On Tuesday evening, thousands of British Airways’ staff found out from the 6 o’clock news that they were to be made redundant.
 
With seemingly uncanny synchronisation, a letter from CEO Alex Cruz was sent to all BA staff, at exactly the same time as it appeared in the national press. The media headlines spoke of thousands of job losses, said that unions had been informed, that dialogue was under way and that somehow, all of this was justified during a time of national crisis, despite the whole country being urged to pull together.
 
The truth is that the unions hadn’t actually been informed and were not informed until much later that evening, when a letter from Adam Carson was received at around 10pm. 
 
A similar letter was also received on behalf of every area within British Airways. The wording was largely the same.  However, it was evident that although the letters were a cut and paste of each other, there was clearly an additional “insert here” paragraph for each individual area. 
 
Apparently thousands of job losses were not enough of a bad news story and so local management could also add their personal wish list of things that they felt would be a good idea to try and impose on each specific area, whilst their staff were furloughed and preoccupied with dealing with the Coronavirus crisis.
 
Virtually every contract of employment, agreement, policy and working practice is to be ended for virtually everyone, 45 days from the date of the letter.
 
That letter is below and is as it was received. It spells out in clear language, not only the number of redundancies but also the hidden agenda; that all those not being made permanently redundant would effectively be dismissed and those deemed suitable are to be reemployed via different contracts and on vastly reduced terms and conditions.

<<Click HERE to view the Gatwick letter>> 

What are Unite going to do?
 
We are still within an agreed Redundancy Mitigation Programme.  It was agreed with BA (ironically also on Tuesday) that this will be extended until June 30th. Obviously, it slipped management’s mind to mention that when signing an extension to a redundancy mitigation, that just a few hours later they would effectively declare the whole workforce redundant.
 
As part of that programme, BA has availed itself of millions of pounds of tax payers’ money, ostensibly to avoid making staff redundant. But they have not honoured that commitment or the spirit for which it was intended. In fact, it would appear that BA has simply sought to take advantage of staff being furloughed and dismiss them in their absence. Unite believes this to be wrong, both legally and morally and intend to challenge BA on both fronts, with every resource available to us. 
 
We have not met with BA to discuss their plans and nor do we intend to – not until the legality of their actions is clear, the moral ambiguity of their actions holds up to scrutiny and they tell the truth to their own employees as to the full extent of their ambitions.

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