Unions detonate British Airways over plans to send 12,000 “unemployed” workers

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Unions representing British Airways staff have attacked the airline for its “gross insult” to the 12,000 employees “it plans to send unemployed.”

BA announced plans to cut its workforce by a quarter while its Spanish parent company signed a £ 900m loan with the Madrid government to save jobs in Iberia and Vueling.

BA is part of the International Airlines group which has declared that it does not intend to request a similar bailout from the British government.

British Airways seeks to lay off 12,000 staff in response to Covid-19 blockade despite parent company International Airlines Group accepting £ 900m loan to save jobs in Iberia and Vueling

British Airways seeks to lay off 12,000 staff in response to Covid-19 blockade despite parent company International Airlines Group accepting £ 900m loan to save jobs in Iberia and Vueling

Oliver Richardson of Unison, representing aviation workers, said: “The fact that the Iberian airlines are requesting support from the Spanish government should be welcomed and is a common sense approach to preserving jobs and services, following the considerable damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to the aviation sector.

“What is worrying is that the parent company IAG is not looking for a similar solution for British Airways.

“This is another gross insult to the British workforce that BA plans to send unemployed. We call on IAG to give our members the same support they give their Spanish employees.

“Rather than seek to preserve workers’ jobs and working conditions and act for the good of the British aviation sector, British Airways is guilty of smashing opportunism.

“This is designed to increase profits in the future and to try to force other operators out of the aviation industry. “

The British Airline Pilots Association has warned that the industry is facing a “job loss tsunami”.

The Spanish government has announced a £ 900 million loan for Iberia and Vueling, both of which are owned by British Airways’ parent company, International Airlines Group.

Brian Strutton, secretary general of the British Airline Pilots Association, said: “Before the coronavirus, the British aviation industry was the world leader. But now, aviation workers are facing a tsunami of job losses.

How coronavirus has affected UK airlines in the past month

Flybe: Europe’s largest regional airline collapsed on March 5 after months on the brink, causing 2,400 job losses and leaving around 15,000 passengers stranded in the UK and Europe. The owners of Flybe, a consortium including Virgin Atlantic, the Stobart group and hedge fund company Cyrus Capital, accused the coronavirus of precipitating the collapse of the sick airline. Flybe operated up to 50 routes in the UK, accounting for 40% of all domestic flights, and was used by 9.5 million passengers per year.

British Airways: The International Airlines group, which also includes Iberia and Aer Lingus, said on March 16 that there would be a 75% reduction in passenger capacity for two months, the boss Willie Walsh admitting that there was no guarantee that many European airlines would survive. “. The company has since stated that it wants to reduce its workforce by 12,000 people.

easyJet: The airline with 9,000 employees based in the United Kingdom, including 4,000 cabin crew members, immobilized its entire fleet of 344 aircraft on March 30. The Luton-based carrier said parking all of its planes “removes significant costs” as the aviation industry struggles to cope with a collapse in demand.

Loganair: The Scottish regional airline said on March 30 that it intends to ask the government for a rescue plan to deal with the impact of the pandemic. Loganair will go to government despite the fact that finance minister Rishi Sunak told him last week that airlines should exhaust all other funding options before asking for help.

Jet2: The low-cost airline suspended all flights from Britain until April 30. A number of Jet2 flights turned around last month during a trip to Spain when a blockade was announced in the country.

Virgin Atlantic: The airline said on March 16 that it would have cut its lights by 80% by March 26, and that figure will drop to 85% by April. He also urged the government to provide carriers with up to £ 7.5 billion in emergency credit facilities.

Ryanair: More than 90% of the Irish airline’s planes are now immobilized, with the rest of the plane on repatriation and rescue flights. Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said his airline would be forced to cut 3,000 jobs while looking for pay cuts of up to 20% for those who stay.

“There is no time for the delay. The British government should follow the example set by others in Europe and around the world, recognize that aviation is vital to the British economy and follow through on the Chancellor’s March 17 promise to help airlines.

“Without swift action, the British air force will lag behind our global competitors and will simply not be there to help the recovery when demand returns.

“Aviation will suffer, as will the industries that indirectly depend on aviation and our ability to trade globally. This can only be bad for the British economy. “

Strutton said other governments are supporting their airline industries, which Balpa says will “distort the world market and let the UK flounder.”

He said, “The government should step in to preserve the future of our national airline industry and work with unions and airlines to avoid losing the tens of thousands of jobs at stake.

“With a full Brexit looming at the end of this year, it would be a disaster. “

Union Unite described the AGI as having a “two-sided approach” to its operation.

Oliver Richardson, who represents aviation workers, said: “The fact that the Iberian airlines are requesting support from the Spanish government should be welcomed and constitutes a common sense approach to preserving jobs and services, following considerable damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to the aviation sector.

“What is worrying is that the parent company IAG is not looking for a similar solution for British Airways.

“This is another gross insult to the British workforce that BA plans to send unemployed. We call on IAG to give our members the same support they give their Spanish employees.

“Rather than seek to preserve workers’ jobs and working conditions and act for the good of the British aviation sector, British Airways is guilty of smashing opportunism.

“This is designed to increase profits in the future and to try to force other operators out of the aviation industry. “

IAG, which owns BA, has signed agreements for £ 900 million in loans guaranteed by the Spanish government, but the money cannot be used to help its British airline, which is cutting up to 12,000 jobs.

IAG said the money could be used to help Spanish carriers Iberia and Vueling mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

There are “restrictions on the upstream liquidity to other IAG companies,” the firm added.

IAG has not applied for a loan from the British government.

He announced this week that up to 12,000 jobs will be lost at BA, which represents more than a quarter of the workforce.

On Thursday, it emerged that the airline may not resume operations at Gatwick, the UK’s second busiest airport.

In a letter to staff, BA’s chief executive officer Alex Cruz wrote: “There is no government bailout for BA. “

British government turned to Morgan Stanley for advice on package to keep airlines operating during coronavirus crisis after warning industry could implode, two sources close to Reuters folder.

British Airways suggested it could withdraw from Gatwick Airport, pictured, as part of its cost-cutting measures after Covid-19

British Airways suggested it could withdraw from Gatwick Airport, pictured, as part of its cost-cutting measures after Covid-19

Wall Street investment bank, originally designed to handle a possible bailout of Virgin Atlantic, has been given a broader mandate to examine ways to support the entire airline industry in Britain, sources said. .

“The situation was more complicated than expected,” the second source said, adding that any bailout by Virgin Atlantic could prompt other airlines to seek state aid.

Morgan Stanley’s expanded role comes as British Airways owner IAG has embarked on a major restructuring and the boss of London Heathrow Airport boss has warned that Britain may destroy its airline sector. aviation by not supporting airlines like countries like the United States and France have done.

Airlines worldwide grapple with fallout from coronavirus pandemic, some like German Lufthansa requesting state emergency aid while air travel is nearly blocked, threatening thousands of jobs .

“We have made it clear that we are ready to enter into discussions with individual companies seeking tailor-made support as a last resort,” a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said of the British airlines which have run out. other funding measures to deal with the crisis.

Morgan Stanley declined to comment, while Treasury officials were not immediately available to comment on the investment bank’s appointment.

Global airline losses due to the coronavirus pandemic are estimated at $ 314 billion, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Virgin Atlantic, which is 51% owned by billionaire Richard Branson and 49% by US airline Delta, warned that it would only survive if it got state aid, while its staff took a temporary salary reduction.

Johnson’s government has so far been wary of the bailout of travel agencies and let the regional carrier Flybe collapse in March, marking one of the first victims of the coronavirus epidemic.

Morgan Stanley is working closely with Rothschild, who won a similar government mandate earlier this year to manage talks with British airlines and other companies bearing the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic, sources said.

Any bailout from Virgin Atlantic would not come until all other possibilities, including a sale, have been fully explored, one of the sources said.

Unions asked why IAG cuts jobs at British Airways while leaving other airlines in the group intact

Unions asked why IAG cuts jobs at British Airways while leaving other airlines in the group intact

A Virgin Atlantic spokesperson said that she was exploring all options available for obtaining additional external credit, adding that she was working with Houlihan Lokey on private sector financing and that the ongoing discussions with stakeholders were ” constructive ”.

Meanwhile, Branson and the Virgin group were attached to the airline and were not seeking to sell it, a group representative said Friday.

But if no bailout is granted and Virgin Atlantic eventually collapses, the government will have to revise the competitive landscape of transatlantic flights, as British Airways would emerge as a winner, said another source.

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