What exactly are BA doing?
BA are using this crisis to dust off a plan they tried to impose some years ago to strip terms and conditions of BA workers. The airline issued what is called a “Section 188”, to essentially dismiss everyone and tear up all agreements and then count staff back in on stripped back terms and conditions.
Why don’t the airline and Unite negotiate?
The union has said to BA that we of course are happy to negotiate reasonable changes as a result of Covid-19. But BA have refused to confirm that any changes will be temporary and that earnings will return along with profits.
Is this just about getting the airline through the crisis?
No. The cuts to pay and conditions demanded by Willie Walsh & the BA Board are permanent. These are not temporary measures to steady the ship.
Is BA financially secure?
BA is financially secure. In 2018, it made €1.95 billion profit. (Its parent company, International Airlines Group, IAG, made €3.2 billion). Willie Walsh, the outgoing CEO, was paid £3.2 million in 2019. BA can afford to treat its staff much better than this. And, as we point out above, if they were proposing temporary arrangements to see out this crisis, staff would understand and be prepared to talk. But that is not what they are imposing.
Why is this only happening to BA and not other airlines in IAG (International Airlines Group)?
CEO Willie Walsh rather gave the game away in his answer to the House of Commons Transport Select Committee, when asked this question. In essence his response was that he has already made these attacks to the terms and conditions of staff in Spain. He sees this pandemic as his chance to attack UK workers in the same way.