'Betrayed' British Airways workers stage second day of protests in Portsmouth over plans to axe 12,000 jobs

OUTRAGED campaigners furious at cuts to jobs and wages by airline giant British Airways have staged a second day of protests.

Wednesday, 19th August 2020, 10:29 pm
Campaigners outside the Lakeside business park in North Harbour in a protest over job cuts at British Airways

BA workers rallied outside the Lakeside business park, in North Harbour, Portsmouth, in a bid to drum up support to their cause.

Lakeside is the base of operations for Portsmouth North MP and cabinet minister, Penny Mordaunt, who demonstrators were calling upon to support their plight.

The rally was organised by Unite the Union and followed a similar protest in Fareham earlier this week.

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Union bosses claim BA is essentially terminating the contracts of its entire workforce – 42,000 people – and re-hiring them on inferior terms and conditions in a bid to axe 12,000 jobs.

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

But Sharon Graham, Unite’s executive officer, said the firm had betrayed workers and added: ‘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.’

BA has insisted the fallout from the coronavirus outbreak is the worst financial disaster the company has ever faced.

Financial results published at the end of last month showed a swing from profit to a loss of £711m for the second quarter of the year.

This is far more than previously financial turbulence caused following the aftermath of the September 11 terror attacks in New York, which saw a £187m difference and the 2008/09 financial crash’s toll of £309m.

A spokesman for BA 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 BALPA – and to protect jobs.’

The company added it was exploring every opportunity available to reduce our costs and save money – including selling artwork and re-mortgaging aircraft.

Ms Mordaunt was approached for comment.

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