Unite Scotland has today (10 June) welcomed a Scottish parliament motion lodged by Neil Findlay MSP drawing attention to the plight of BA workers.

The company has served BA workers with a Section 188 notice which effectively sacks 42,000 workers to bring the workers back on considerably worse terms and conditions. The measure will also cut up to 12,000 staff. The union’s 'BA Betrayal' campaign has alerted companies including Barclays in Glasgow about BA's betrayal of its workforce.

Neil Findlay MSP said: “British Airways is acting in a despicable way by using the Covid-19 crisis to sack and then attempt to re-engage workers on massively reduced pay and much poorer conditions. This is a company that has accepted huge taxpayer funded loans and furlough money throughout the crisis and is opportunistically using the cover of Covid-19 to attack its workforce. BA should withdraw these threats immediately.”

Unite Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty added: “BA is using the Covid-19 pandemic as a cover to slash jobs, pay and conditions. No other employer has threatened to effectively ‘fire and rehire’ its entire workforce. Over 40,000 loyal BA staff face the imminent prospect of losing either their livelihoods or potentially being re-interviewed for their own jobs on vastly reduced terms and conditions. We hope that all parliamentarians in the Scottish parliament unite to send a message to the company that their behaviour is totally unacceptable and they must withdraw these grotesque proposals.”

"BA’s parent company IAG is still pressing ahead to buy another airline Air Europa for over a billion euros, while claiming to be in financial difficulties. How is it possible to claim financial hardship while buying a new airline? Workers in Britain who are responsible for two thirds of IAG's profits are being sacrificed for the benefit of shareholders.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

The motion S5M-21975 lodged by Neil Findlay states: That the parliament condemns what it sees as British Airways' (BA) threat to terminate the jobs of 42,000 workers, according to claims by the Unite union; is shocked that the company is also reported to be planning to make 12,000 workers permanently redundant and intends to rehire the rest on inferior pay, terms and conditions, with pay cuts of up to 70%; recognises that the airline industry faces short-term challenges that will require solutions; considers that, on the basis of these reports, BA is cynically using the COVID-19 crisis as a means to implement severe cuts; further considers it galling the decision by the airline to access funding from the furlough scheme, as well as a government-backed loan of £300 million, while, it understands, paying on average £446 million per year over the last five years in dividends to its shareholders; believes that BA is acting disgracefully, given it is a highly-profitable company, and calls on BA to withdraw the Section 188 notice and any threat of dismissal, and to negotiate in good faith with Unite and other unions, and to agree for any proposed changes to pay, terms and conditions to be temporary and to be returned to existing levels in line with increased revenues.

  • Unite Scotland is the country’s biggest and most diverse trade union with around 150,000 members. The union is led in Scotland by Pat Rafferty.