COVID-19: British Airways to suspend 36,000 workers

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British Airways has reached a deal to temporarily suspend more than 30,000 of its cabin crew and ground staff due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The airline has been locked in talks with unions for more than a week to decide the fate of the workers.

On Thursday, April 2, British Airways boss, Alex Cruz told staff that a large majority of employees would be suspended for the next two months.

Explaining the rationale behind it, Mr Cruz said, “We need to act now to protect jobs and ensure that BA comes out the other side of this crisis in the best possible shape.”

According to him, the decision will affect all staff at Gatwick and London City Airport after the airline suspended its operations at both locations until the pandemic is over.

“The number of colleagues who will be furloughed reflects the significant drop in flying,” he said.

However, UK government’s job retention scheme would fund 80% of their wages.

Under the jobs retention scheme, the government funds 80% of someone’s salary capped at a maximum of £2,500 a month. But British trade union, Unite, said there would be no cap on earnings under its agreement with BA.

The union also said no BA staff would be made redundant during the coronavirus crisis.

“Given the incredibly difficult circumstances that the entire aviation sector is facing this is as good a deal as possible for our members,” the Union’s National Officer for Aviation, Oliver Richardson, said in a statement.

Also, the airline had already reached a separate deal with its 4,000 pilots who will take a 50 percent pay cut over two months.

An Independent Aviation Analyst, John Strickland said, “tough negotiations” between the British Airways and the union meant it had taken a while to reach an agreement.

“The pilots’ deal for half-pay was concluded rather earlier, I guess there was a recognition as to just how serious that issue was,” he said.

Source: ABCNewsgh.com

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