BA workers stage demo in Fareham to highlight company’s 'brutal' job cuts

CAMPAIGNERS took to the streets of Fareham to highlight cuts to jobs and wages by airline firm British Airways.

Tuesday, 18th August 2020, 4:40 pm
Updated Tuesday, 18th August 2020, 6:01 pm

British Airways workers and constituents in Fareham demonstrated outside the Civic Offices today (August 18).

They were calling on Fareham MP Suella Braverman to join MPs who have pledged to review BA’s privileged landing slots at airports such as Heathrow if the airline doesn’t end its ‘fire and rehire’ plan for thousands of its staff.

The demonstration was organised by Unite the Union.

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BAbetrayal lobby in Fareham

Unite executive officer Sharon Graham said: ‘Many thousands of BA workers are being subjected to the most brutal fire and rehire strategy. British Airways are a national disgrace and actions against them will continue.

‘So far, more than 230 MPs have added their name to our call for BA’s privileged landing slots to be reviewed and the numbers continue to grow.’

Unite said BA is essentially terminating the contracts of its entire workforce – 42,000 people – and re-hiring them on inferior terms and conditions. It plans to make 12,000 workers permanently redundant.

British Airways said it has followed proper processes and that its plans were the only way that it could survive the coronavirus crisis.

BAbetrayal lobby in Fareham

Workers at yesterday’s event said they felt betrayed the company.

One, who wished to remain anonymous, said: ‘I have done 25 years loyally worked for BA and the company sees money not people. We are just numbers to them. We made them profit last year and this is how they thank us!’

Another added: ‘I have 35 years of service. The company is brutal. If BA get away with this other companies will do the same. People need to wake up.’

BAbetrayal lobby in Fareham

Fareham MP Suella Braverman said: ‘I sincerely sympathise with anyone who is facing redundancy during the pandemic, and I am acutely aware of the problems faced by the travel and aviation sector.

‘Redundancy is never an easy process to go through, and it is important that those who have been made redundant are aware of their rights.

‘I am conscious that the terms and conditions of employment are, principally, a matter for employers and employees.

‘Companies should behave responsibly, but there is already recourse for those who feel they have been treated unfairly.’

British Airways (BA) flight BA9170E, a Boeing 747 aircraft. Picture; Steve Parsons/PA Wire

A statement from British Airways said that it needed to adapt to survive the crisis.

It said: ‘For more than 100 years British Airways has been flying millions of people around the world. Today that world remains largely closed.

‘This is the biggest challenge the airline and our industry has ever faced. Sadly, the global pandemic has resulted in job losses across every industry. Many airlines have already made thousands of staff redundant.

‘We are not immune to this crisis. We have to adapt to survive, so we will continue with the proper, lawful consultative process and we will keep inviting union representatives to discuss our proposals to the serious challenges we face.

‘It is not too late to find solutions – as we have done with (pilots’ union) BALPA – and to protect jobs.​’

BAbetrayal lobby in Fareham

Another Unite lobby is being planned for outside the constituency office of Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt, at 1000 Lakeside, North Harbour, on August 19 at 11am.

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