McCluskey calls on British Airways to withdraw “unlawful and immoral” redundancies

Unite has called on British Airways to withdraw plans to make up to 12,000 workers redundant.

General secretary Len McCluskey has denounced the move – without consultation – as “unlawful and immoral” and is warning it undermines the work Unite and the industry have been doing with government to secure a financial package and strategy for the entire sector spanning airlines, airports and air traffic control, as well as addressing industry-related environmental concerns.

The sheer scale of the job losses, which will see a quarter of the airline’s workforce sacked, will also make the UK aviation sector, already very fragile as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, extremely unstable putting many thousands more jobs across the country, not just at BA, at risk.

Len McCluskey said: “BA’s decision to ignore the principle and intent of the job retention scheme and instead throw 12,000 workers onto the scrap heap is both unlawful and immoral.

“It is unlawful because they are denying these workers the meaningful consultation that the law and common decency says that they are owed.

“It is immoral because BA has been taking taxpayers’ money in recent weeks, money supplied on the proviso that the company put the workers on furlough while the industry reshaped.

“Instead, BA has taken a unilateral and selfish action that could imperil an already very fragile aviation industry – and so a great many jobs – in this country.

“UK taxpayers have not handed over their money to BA for it to embark on an opportunistic course of slashing jobs, conditions and wages, and potentially jeopardising jobs right across aviation sector.

“BA built its reputation on being the `world’s favourite airline’ but by pursing this needlessly drastic course it risks becoming better known as the destroyer of UK jobs and aviation.

“We say to BA that there is a better way forward for both it and the industry.  We urge it to think again.

“I therefore call on BA to honour the law, remove this threat of redundancy today and join with us to work with the government and aviation industry to deliver the rescue package so desperately needed by the whole sector.”

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