IAG boss Willie Walsh has been blasted by MPs over plans to make up to 12,000 British Airways staff redundant while the group has access to €10 billion of funds.
Parliament’s transport select committee heard IAG had €6.4 billion in cash and access to a €3.6 billion loan facility, but Walsh said BA alone had running costs of €800 million a month while it was grounded.
MP Sam Tarry accused IAG of having a “predetermined plan to restructure the company and to do so in a way that is market-advantageous versus your rivals”. He rounded on Walsh for his pay package while cutting jobs.
“Between 2011 and 2019 you were paid £33 million in pension, bonuses and payments. Cabin staff who have worked for you for 20, 25 years are going to be wondering how that was possible for you, but as soon as the going gets tough for them, they’re thrown on the scrapheap.”
Walsh replied only that he was “engaging with representatives” over the restructuring.
“That restructuring is solely driven by the fact we are in the deepest downturn the aviation industry has ever seen. I don’t think I need to hide the scale of it.”
He said the amount of flying BA would do in the next few years would be significantly reduced and so, consequently, would be the number of staff needed.
MP Chris Loder asked if staff were being targeted for redundancy on age or length of service. He said 90% of BA staff who had contacted him had more than 20 years’ service and the letters they had received were “clearly different” from those received by other staff.
Walsh said: “I’m absolutely clear with you that we will comply with all legislation.
“We are not doing anything we don’t believe is necessary to ensure the survival of BA.”