The Wokingham Paper

Campaigners call for action over British Airways restructure plans

Unite The Union
Unite the Union has been in Wokingham to gain support for its British Airways campaign

CAMPAIGNERS are calling for British Airways to change its restricting plans and are hoping that MPs and residents will offer their support.

In April the airline announced plans to reimagine and reshape the airline in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Alex Cruz, the company’s chairman and CEO, said: “We do not know when countries will reopen their borders or when the lockdowns will lift, and so we have to reimagine and reshape our airline and create a new future for our people, our customers and the destinations we serve. ”

The proposals include making at least 12,455 redundancies and asking staff who remain to accept pay cuts and new terms and conditions to their contracts, including accepting a term that would allow BA to suspend staff for up to six weeks a year without pay.

Earlier this week, members of Unite the Union visited Wokingham to raise awareness for their campaign against the proposals.

Unite the Union
Unite the Union has been in Wokingham to gain support for its campaign

It says that hundreds of BA staff live across the borough, where people have been showing their support for the staff and are calling on their MP sign a pledge which calls for a Government review of British Airways’ control UK landing slots amid the airline’s betrayal of its workers and the British public.

It argues that there should be consequences to BA’s plans.

Unite executive officer Sharon Graham said: “Friends and neighbours have been showing their support for BA staff and are calling on John Redwood to act. British Airways’ workers face an unprecedented attack on their jobs, pay and conditions in the middle of the worst health crisis in a century. 

“There should be consequences to BA’s actions. The company is essentially creating a new and unrecog-nisable airline – it should not automatically have the legacy slots. 

“BA controls over half the landing slots at Heathrow. 

“It is simply wrong for BA to have privileged access to landing slots while its workforce are being sacrificed for shareholder profits.”

Unite the union
Unite the Union has been in Wokingham to gain support for its campaign

And the actions are supported by Country Cleaners and Cobbler, based in Wokingham’s Denmark
Street.

In a statement, they said: “We have around 25 BA crew who use us for dry cleaning and about six pilots.

“Since lockdown began our average turnover has gone down by 50%. If these staff are laid off we will feel the weight of it.”

Unite the Union
Unite the Union has been in Wokingham to gain support for its campaign

When announcing the proposals at the end of April, British Airways said that the changes were necessary.

Mr Cruz said: “The scale of this challenge requires substantial change so we are in a competitive and resilient position, not just to address the immediate Covid-19 pandemic, but also to withstand any longer-term reductions in customer demand, economic shocks or other events that could affect us.

“However challenging this is, the longer we delay difficult decisions, the fewer options will be open to us.”

Unite the Union
Unite the Union has been in Wokingham to gain support for its campaign

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