British Airways has been criticised for continuing with plans up to 12,000 potential redundancies despite the government’s furlough scheme being extended to October.
Huw Merriman, chair of the House of Commons’ transport committee, said it was “disappointing that British Airways seem determined to press ahead with devastating cuts to their workforce” despite this week’s extension of the furlough scheme.
“On the one hand, BA is happy to take taxpayers’ money from the furlough scheme which was designed to help companies avoid redundancies,” said Merriman.
“Yet on the other, BA is ploughing ahead with a cull of their workforce and a lowering of terms and conditions. This is not what people would expect from our national flag carrier. BA’s loyal staff deserve better than to be treated like this.”
Merriman was responding to a letter from Willie Walsh, chief executive of BA’s parent company IAG, following up on Walsh’s appearance before MPs at a virtual session on Monday (11 May).
While Walsh welcomed chancellor Rishi Sunak’s decision on Tuesday (12 May) to extend the furlough scheme, also known as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), until October.
But he added: “We must act now to secure the maximum number of jobs possible, consistent with the reality of a structurally changed airline industry in a severely weakened global economy.
“I want to confirm therefore that we will not pause our consultations or put our plans on hold.”
Walsh also criticised the government’s decision to quarantine airline passengers arriving in the UK because of the coronavirus.
“The prime minister’s decision to quarantine people arriving in the UK by air, and the health secretary’s comments that it was unlikely that "big, lavish international holidays" were going to be possible this summer, have seriously set back recovery plans for our industry,” added Walsh.