Last night the Angel of the North was adorned with a BA Betrayal slogan as Unite the Union’s launched a new campaign to discourage the aviation company from profiteering from the coronavirus pandemic.
Campaigners projected the image not only onto Antony Gormley’s iconic structure in Gateshead but also onto the Sage and the BALTIC, alongside multiple other landmarks across the UK including the Houses of Parliament and the Marble Arch.
Unite has launched the campaign BABetrayal after the company announced plans to serve its entire 42,000-strong workforce with a Section 188 notice. This will allow it to make approximately 12,000 workers permanently redundant, while the remaining workers will be effectively and then rehired on considerably worse terms and conditions, including pay cuts of up to 70%.
Despite taking these measures, BA has used the Government’s Job Retention Scheme to pay staff wages, and its parent company, IAG, allegedly “sits on assets and reserves that could see it through this crisis without the need for permanent cuts or redundancies”. Unite further evidences this with claims that in 2019 workers comprised less than one quarter of BA’s costs; their biggest expenditure is fuel, which is currently at much lower prices than before the crisis, and much less fuel than normal is being used due to air travel and tourism restrictions.
Unite argues that BA’s “opportunistic plans” will “betray thousands of staff and the public”. While many company are having to introduce drastic short-term plans amid the current pandemic, Unite argues that BA’s planned changes are not temporary and show the company to be using the virus as a cover.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey argued: “BA’s plan to use the worst health crisis in a century to strip loyal workers of their terms and conditions is a betrayal of workers and of Britain.”
Last modified: 24th May 2020