Unite Offers Lifeline to British Airways to Secure 'Temporary Solutions to Temporary Problems'

Dépèche transmise le 10 avril 2009 par PRNewswire

LONDON, April 10 /PRNewswire/ -- In a positive and significant effort to combat the serious impact of the deteriorating global economy on British Airways, Unite, the UK's leading union, yesterday (Thursday) proposed to the airline a major package of negotiated efficiencies, temporary cost savings and deferred payments worth millions over the next two years.

The union is clear, however, that this 'interest free' investment by BA's workforce now must be repaid as the company returns to operating profitability in the near future.

The package, aimed at securing both the long term security of employees and industrial peace during current difficulties with the carrier, was tabled in a meeting with BA CEO Willie Walsh and other members of the BA Board.

Unite National Secretary for Aviation, Steve Turner said: "While it is clear that BA is finding the current economic situation challenging, things will improve alongside an upturn in the global economy. Until it does we will work with the company on the introduction of temporary measures aimed at ensuring stability and security of employment for our members and their families."

Unite has tabled measures, including if necessary, a company-wide deferral of pay award for 2009/10, alongside the deferral of incremental pay increases for those earning basic pay over GBP14,500, and headcount efficiencies following a reduced flight schedule. This will allow hundreds to reduce their working hours so meeting a long-standing demand from workers.

However, Unite is sounding a note of caution that the union will not accept wholesale restructuring of the business smuggled through under the guise of the global slump.

Steve Turner added: "It is clear to us that some within the business may see the current recession as an opportunity to drive home plans for the permanent restructuring of operations and change to long-standing agreements. Any such attempts will not be welcomed by a workforce whose professionalism and quality of service delivery saw record profits for BA only 12 months ago.

"This is a time when we should be pulling together and avoiding unnecessary conflict and instability. We need to be clear that this requires temporary solutions to what are undoubtedly tough but nevertheless temporary problems."

Unite now awaits what it hopes will be a positive response from the company to an initiative that sees all workers playing their part in safeguarding jobs and building a bright future for BA, from Willie Walsh and the highest paid director to the lowest paid employee.

CONTACT: For further information, contact Pauline Doyle on+44-7976-832-861


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