British Airways has reached an agreement with union Unite over furloughing its workforce amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Widespread reports on Thursday (2 April) said around 36,000 BA staff were set to be furloughed, including cabin crew, ground staff, engineers and head office employees.
As part of the deal, BA will introduce a “modified version” of the government’s Job Retention Scheme with workers on 80% of their pay.
However, unlike the government scheme, there will be no cap on earnings and staff will be able to divert their pension contributions into their pay for a short period of time (contributions are between 9-18% of earnings).
There will also be no unpaid temporary lay-offs or redundancies and the redundancy process that had already begun has been halted, Unite said in a statement.
The deal will now be circulated to Unite members at BA for final approval.
Unite’s national officer for aviation Oliver Richardson said: “Given the incredibly difficult circumstances that the entire aviation sector is facing, this is as good a deal as possible for our members.
“The deal protects the jobs of BA staff and, as far as possible, also protects their pay. This is what can and should be done to protect workers during this unprecedented time for the airline sector.”
A BA spokesperson said: “Our colleagues have done a brilliant job keeping vital routes open to reunite customers with their families, and bring back supplies to our hospitals, factories and shops.
“But with the challenges of coronavirus, like many airlines, we have been in touch with colleagues to advise that we are implementing the furlough scheme to minimise the financial impact on them.”