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British Airways to Cut Jobs; Strike Imminent?

October 7, 2009 By: Jena Tesse Fox

British Airways will reportedly cut 1,700 jobs and introduce a two-year pay freeze for cabin crew.

The airline said the job cuts would involve 1,000 cabin crew taking voluntary redundancy and a further 3,000 choosing to go part-time, and would come into place from the end of next month.

The airline also announced it would continue with plans to recruit new staff on different terms and conditions to current employees.

The Unite union will meet in the next few days to consider the next move, which could include canvassing crew members on the possibility of a strike.

British Airways' statement is as follows:

The aviation industry remains in the worst downturn in its history. IATA anticipates that the industry will make a £7bn loss this year.

British Airways is currently not profitable and we expect to record a significant loss for the second consecutive year – the first time that has happened in our history.

Revenues are down, so we must reduce costs to restore profitability. Thousands of staff across the airline have already made contributions to the cost-reduction programme.

We have been talking to the cabin crew unions since the start of the year, but have made little progress on the contribution they might make.

We have extremely professional cabin crew. However, we cannot ignore the fact that our Heathrow-based cabin crew costs are much higher than those of our Gatwick-based crew and of our competitors.

About 1,000 members of cabin crew would like to take voluntary redundancy and a further 3,000 would like to switch to part-time working. To facilitate these requests (which represent 1,700 MPE positions in total), we must make changes to the way crew work.
We have consulted on these changes and are not altering anything that requires negotiation.

These changes will take place from the end of November. They will not alter contractual terms and conditions for individual crew members, and will not reduce the number of working crew onboard.

Offering high-quality customer service will remain our focus and our most senior cabin crew will become an integral part of the service onboard.

Without changes, we will lose more money with every month that passes. It is essential we make ourselves more efficient if we are to ensure our long-term survival.

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