(Alliance News) - British Airways workers have backed the threat of industrial and legal action in a row over jobs and conditions.
More than 1,000 cabin crew, ground and other staff held a mass meeting near Heathrow airport, at which they instructed their union, Unite, to proceed to action against their employer.
Unite warned BA that its conduct has left it exposed to strikes and continuous litigation, claiming the airline has changed the terms of voluntary redundancies, leaving workers potentially thousands of pounds out of pocket.
Assistant general secretary Howard Beckett said: "British Airways is reaping what it has sowed. Its systematic, brutal and needless attacks on its workforce will see it inevitably faced with strikes in the autumn along with the persistent threat of disruption through widespread legal action.
"This workforce was absolutely clear today â€“ this fight will go all the way and it will last until BA stops behaving like an abusive Victorian mill owner.
"We will now instruct our legal specialists to proceed to industrial and legal action, which will hit BA in the autumn. BA has given these workers no other choice but with Unite by their side, we will fight this all the way."
Oliver Richardson, Unite's national officer for civil aviation, said: "BA's behaviour is inhumane but it is made worse because it is also needless.
"This business is sitting on billions, built on the hard graft of the very workforce that the airline is hellbent on treating so abysmally."
A BA spokesman said: "For more than 100 years British Airways has been flying millions of people around the world. Today that world remains largely closed.
"This is the biggest challenge the airline and our industry has ever faced. Sadly, the global pandemic has resulted in job losses across every industry. Many airlines have already made thousands of staff redundant.
"We are not immune to this crisis. We have to adapt to survive, so we will continue with the proper, lawful consultative process and we will keep inviting union representatives to discuss our proposals to the serious challenges we face.
"It is not too late to find solutions â€“ as we have done with Balpa â€“ and to protect jobs."
BA is part of International Consolidated Airlines Group SA.
By Alan Jones, PA Industrial Correspondent
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