British Airways will today suspend around 36,000 of its 45,000 staff as coronavirus left the airline on its knees.
The airline has reached a broad deal with the Unite union that will include the suspension of 80 per cent of its cabin crew, ground staff, engineers and those working at head office in Harmondsworth, near Heathrow.
The furloughed UK staff are expected to receive some of their wages through the government job retention scheme, which offers them 80 per cent of someone’s average pay up to £2,500-a-month.
BA is owned by Madrid-based, International Airlines Group, whose boss Willie Walsh saw his pay jump 5.5% to £3.2 million last year – despite tumbling profits – and stands to retire in June with millions due in share bonuses over the next four years. IAG shares are up three per cent on the London Stock Exchange today.
It is not yet known if Mr Walsh, CEO of British Airways Alex Cruz or other bosses will forgo any of their pay or bonuses as tens of thousands of staff face an uncertain future.
BA refused to comment today, only to say ‘talks are ongoing’, but a Unite spokesman said: “Unite has been working around the clock to protect thousands of jobs and to ensure the UK comes out of this unprecedented crisis with a viable aviation sector’, adding: ‘Members are very anxious at this time’.
Staff expected to be temporarily laid off have contacted MailOnline to express their anger after they found out about the job suspensions from the news. One cabin crew member said: ‘I am disgusted. I have heard nothing from British Airways’.
Another worker, angry about the collapse, said in a message to bosses: ‘Don’t blame the virus. This company has been mismanaged for years. IAG have simply sucked the life out of it’.
The 36,000 job cuts came after BA axed all its flights to and from Gatwick Airport and London City – with BA only expected to keep flying from Heathrow Terminal 5 with a severely reduced schedule.
As BA edged towards a total shut down, it has also emerged:
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