Tag Archives: Sharon Graham

Poll of passengers and public finds British Airways damaging brand

New poll:  British Airways damaging brand and should face review of privileged landing rights, say public and passengers in response to ‘fire and rehire’ move 

  • 70% of the public say BA’s ‘fire and rehire’ scheme wrong.
  • By a 3-1 ratio (61% vs 20%) public say BA is taking advantage of a national crisis to boost shareholder profits.
  • 69% believe the current landing slot arrangements should be reviewed.

A new poll reveals that the British public backs tough action against British Airways over its ‘fire and rehire’ plans, with both Conservative and Labour voters giving strong support for the introduction of legislation to strip the nation’s flag carrying airline of its privileged access to UK landing slots.

The poll of over 2000 people, including over 1219 BA passengers across the UK, conducted by Survation, reveals that 69% of all those surveyed believed the government should review the UK’s current arrangements on landing slots (vs just 16% saying the government should not) with 76% of Conservative voters backing a review.

British Airways stands accused of using a global health pandemic as cover to impose a long-term plan to ‘fire and rehire‘ the majority of its staff in order to re-engage them on inferior terms and conditions while making up to 12,00 redundant.

The majority of those polled believe BA is wrong to terminate staff and re-employ them on reduced terms and conditions in the middle of a health crisis (70%) and just 14% of those polled trusted BA to give out fair and accurate information.

Unite executive officer, Sharon Graham said:“It’s clear that Britain wants the government to get tough on the nation’s flag carrying airline for its disgraceful plans to fire and rehire its staff while cutting thousands of jobs. 

“The airline is stripping its loyal workforce of their terms and conditions while sacking thousands in the middle of a health crisis. If BA press ahead to create a new and unrecognisable airline, it should not continue to benefit from its domination of lucrative legacy take-off and landing slots.

“British Airways has lost the trust of its workforce, politicians and the country. The only way British Airways can retrieve its reputation as the world’s best loved airline and protect its lucrative landing slots, is to withdraw its unprecedented attack on staff and enter into sensible negotiations.”

In a statistic that should alarm BA, the poll revealed that almost half (49%) of those polled who have travelled with BA in the past say they are less likely to use the airline in the future given the dispute, with the number rising to 53% for respondents who fly with BA three times a year.

Unite takes case against IAG takeover of Air Europa to the European Commission

Unite, Britain and Ireland’s biggest union, has informed the EU commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, that it intends to act as a third party opposing the acquisition of Air Europa by BA’s parent company IAG.

The union is now in talks with the DG Competition case team who will be investigating the takeover.

The union has strongly criticised IAG’s decision to spend hundreds of millions of pounds on a new acquisition, while pleading poverty as an excuse to execute its brutal “fire and rehire” strategy on its BA workforce – stripping workers of their terms and conditions while cutting thousands of jobs.

Unite has identified a number of serious competition concerns with the potential to scupper the Air Europa deal. These include; IAG’s increasing domination of the market for flights from Europe to South America, IAG’s dominant position at Madrid-Barajas airport and the group’s return to a monopolistic hold over the Spanish domestic market. These issues all make it likely that the acquisition would drive up ticket prices and reduce the number of fights on some routes, matters of serious concern to the European Commission.

Sharon Graham, Unite executive officer, said: “Unite is questioning why IAG is seeking to fire and rehire the workforce at BA while its parent IAG is ploughing ahead with buying an airline for over €1 billion. There are a number of reasons why this merger of Iberia with Air Europa would appear to be anti-competitive.

“The case team at DG Competition have been very open to us sharing our concerns with them. We are now gathering further detailed evidence from a number of expert sources and discussing the takeover with other parties that could be negatively impacted. We are confident that we have a strong case and we look forward to officially presenting all our evidence when Phase I of the investigation begins.”

Unite video demolishes BA’s ‘fire & rehire’ claims

A Unite video explaining BA’s finances ‘demolishes’ the airline’s claim that it must fire its workforce and rehire those that survive on inferior contracts.

Access the video here: Fire and rehire

The in-depth analysis of British Airways’ financial position reveals the true extent of BA’s plan to use the health crisis as cover to slash jobs, pay and conditions in order to transfer ever greater sums of money to its Spanish parent company IAG and its shareholders.

The union will be meeting IAG financial analysts in the coming days to explain why IAG can afford to see out this crisis without such drastic cuts.

Quite incredibly, while the airline is claiming poverty, its parent company IAG is ploughing ahead with the purchase of the airline Air Europa, for over 1 billion euros.

Unite executive officer Sharon Graham said:”British Airways is claiming to be in financial difficulties while its parent company IAG is still planning to spend close to one billion euros to buy Air Europa. Workers in Britain who made two thirds of IAG’s profits are being sacrificed for the benefit of shareholders.

“BA is using the health crisis to axe workers’ jobs, pay and conditions. We have asked BA repeatedly to remove the dismissal notices. No other company is firing and rehiring its workforce in this way.

“Our analysis of BA’s finances show why British Airways and its owners IAG can afford to see out this crisis without such drastic cuts. This is a company with a lot of cash, strong assets and sustainable debt. There can be little doubt that BA is viable. The company controls some of the most profitable routes in the world and is backed by the Qatar Royal Family.”