Families could face half-term travel chaos as British Airways workers vow to strike following the decision to axe up to 12,000 jobs.
Cargo, loading and baggage staff reportedly decided to take strike action in a recent meeting near Heathrow, pinpointing the half-term school holidays for ‘maximum impact’.
They are expected to now formally vote to strike, meaning BA could struggle to operate as they seek to win back customers amid the devastating impact of the coronavirus crisis.
Cabin crew have separate options for pursuing industrial action if they choose to do so.
A staff member at the meeting told The Sun: ‘Workers want to strike. There is absolute disgust at the behaviour of BA.’
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‘There is now a mandate for the union to formally pursue industrial action. Staff will now be balloted and a strike is inevitable.’
A BA spokesperson told Metro.co.uk the company had ‘received no notification of any ballot for industrial action’, with flights operating as normal.
The airline has reached an agreement with unions on its engineering and Heathrow customer-facing staff.
Pilots also accepted a ‘disappointing’ deal of nearly 300 redundancies and pay cuts of up to 20% in August in a bid to avoid almost 1,000 further job losses.
However, the company was blasted as ‘greedy’ and ‘despicable’ by unions after cutting 4,000 workers on August 7.
More than 6,000 staff members have applied for voluntary redundancy, but staff who survived the first wave of redundancies are facing pay cuts, it is claimed.
Howard Beckett, Unite’s assistant general secretary, said: ‘This is a very bleak day for the incredible BA workforce and will go down in the history of the airline as the day that it put the interests of the boardroom ahead of its passengers and workforce.
‘These workers have given years of dedicated service to this company, some as many as 40 years, and indeed to our country, as many were involved in the repatriation of British citizens at the outset of this pandemic.
‘Today they will be dismissed by email by an employer whose spiteful mistreatment of them is nothing other than despicable.’
He went on: ‘Make no mistake, 4,000 loyal workers are being forced out of the jobs that they love today by naked, company greed.’
Company bosses have said they are trying to protect as many jobs as possible, as the aviation industry faces its worst crisis in history.
BA’s latest financial results show a loss of £711 million for the second quarter of the year – compared with a loss of £309 million following the 2008/9 financial crisis.
The airline is operating on less than 20% of its pre-pandemic schedule and does not expect demand for air travel to return to previous levels until at least 2023.
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