When a Tory MP talks about revoking Heathrow slots from British Airways, you know the tide may be turning…
British Airways has embarked upon a campaign it argues is necessary to save itself. Employees have been warned that if all concerned unions do not approach the negotiating table, every employee of every branch of every department will be terminated. Many will be rehired…at lower wages…while around 12,000 will not return to work.
An illustration. A flight attendant currently making £60,000/year may soon be making £24,000. Yes, these are the sorts of draconian cuts under consideration.
Not surprisingly, even discussion over wage cuts this severe is dead on arrival with unions. To date, only BALPA, the union representing pilots, has approached BA to speak.
But British Airways has a problem on its hand. Importantly, the British public does not like what is going on. Maybe it started when baggage benefits and free meals and beverages onboard were taken way. Perhaps it simmered during multiple data breaches and an unprecedented IT meltdown.
Maybe the public just did not like British Airways taking advantage of a horrific situation like COVID-19 as an excuse to slash wages and destroy careers. While the Queen spoke about collective sacrifice, British Airways plotted to dramatically reduce wages.
All fair, right? British Airways is a private company (since 1987 at least…) and can do what it wants to save itself, right? Why should it pay staff so well when the demand for a job at BA is off the charts, right?
Well, not so fast. Forget the loan for a second, though it should be noted that the British taxpayers have recently loaned British Airways £300 million. Let’s focus on London Heathrow, the most lucrative airport in the world due its severe slot restrictions.
As I noted when I first wrote about this issue, British Airways controls the majority of takeoff and landing slots at LHR. For the most part, these were a FREE gift from the UK government.
British Airways Heathrow Slots: With Rights Comes Responsibility…
Just like the very constitution of Great Britain itself, there was unwritten trust in that gifting of those slots. British Airways is trying to have its cake and eat it too. How can BA look taxpayers in the eye and justify slashing employee wages and the customer experience but say so sorry, we’ll need to squat on all these slots.
Members of Parliament are listening, even on the more conservative Tory side. As View from the Wing noted, there is now talk about re-examining BA’s slot allocations at Heathrow.
I think this is long overdue…
On a personal note, I’m not looking to punish British Airways. If anything, what is transpiring now demonstrates the peril of accepting any government assistance. There’s no such thing as free…
But British Airways should rightly be questioned for its threat to fire all employees while holding on to the “Golden Goose” at London Heathrow. I am happy to see such conversations beginning to take place in the halls of Westminster.
> Read More: British Airways Prepares To Fire All Flight Attendants In Scheme To Slash Wages
> Read More: Why British Airways Cabin Staff Are So Afraid