British Airways is about to lay off 12,000 staff as a result of the collapse in global travel due to the coronavirus crisis.
The airline’s parent company IAG said a restructuring and redundancy programme that would primarily affect BA was being put to trade unions as it looked to the future beyond the COVID-19 pandemic and the grounding of the vast majority of its fleet.
This decision becomes imminent after the company announced a group operating losses of €535m during the first quarter of the year – most of which were linked to BA.
BA boss Alex Cruz has told staff in a letter that the airline must be reshaped for the future.
IAG said it expected the situation to deteriorate in the current second quarter.
Its statement read: “In light of the impact of COVID-19 on current operations and the expectation that the recovery of passenger demand to 2019 levels will take several years, British Airways is formally notifying its trade unions about a proposed restructuring and redundancy programme.
“The proposals remain subject to consultation but it is likely that they will affect most of British Airways’ employees and may result in the redundancy of up to 12,000 of them.
“As previously announced, British Airways has availed itself of the UK’s COVID-19 job retention scheme and furloughed 22,626 employees in April.”
The pilots’ union Balpa responded by signalling it would fight for every job while Unite said it was a “heartless decision” at a time of national crisis.
The airline is not alone in feeling the strain, with rivals seeking state aid to help keep them in the air beyond the freeze in flights.
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