British Airways’ parent company IAG, has announced that the airline is formally notifying its trade unions about a proposed restructuring and redundancy programme. It said the proposals remain subject to consultation, but it is likely that they will affect most of British Airways’ employees and may result in the redundancy of up to 12,000 of them.
British Airways joined the UK government’s COVID-19 Job Retention Scheme and furloughed 22,626 employees in April.
An IAG statement, issued on April 28, said: “As announced on 28 February 2020, given the uncertainty on the impact and duration of COVID-19, IAG is not currently providing profit guidance for 2020. However, the Group expects its operating loss in the second quarter to be significantly worse than in the first quarter, given the substantial decline in passenger capacity and traffic and despite some relief on employee costs from government job retention and wage support schemes.
“Total cash and undrawn general and committed aircraft finance facilities amounted to €9.5 billion at the end of March, including €6.95 billion of cash, cash equivalents and interest-bearing deposits.
“Recovery to the level of passenger demand in 2019 is expected to take several years, necessitating Group-wide restructuring measures.”
The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) union general secretary, Brian Strutton, responded: “BA pilots and all staff are devastated by the announcement of up to 12,000 possible job losses in British Airways.
“This has come as a bolt out of the blue from an airline that said it was wealthy enough to weather the COVID storm and declined any Government support.
“BALPA does not accept that a case has been made for these job losses and we will be fighting to save every single one.”
GMB, the union representing some of British Airways’ ground staff, described the possible cuts as “staggering”.
Nadine Houghton, GMB National Officer, said:“We don’t yet know the detail of the proposed cuts but if the 12,000 figure is accurate this will be a huge blow for our loyal members.
“We believed we had reached some relative, albeit temporary, respite for them following the agreement to furlough 80% of BA’s staff – now this.
“I know our reps will work day and night to limit the impact on our members but 12,000 employees is a staggering number.
“All our efforts will be put into bringing that number down.”