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UPDATE 1-British Airways faces strike threat over job cuts

Tue, 28th Jul 2020 15:56

(Adds BA statement, Unite letter details)

LONDON, July 28 (Reuters) - British Airways faces strike
action over its plans to cut jobs, pay and conditions, the trade
union representing cabin crew said, piling more pressure on the
airline which has been hard hit by the coronavirus crisis and
quarantine rules.

Trade union Unite has written to British Airways to say it
planned to defend its members by immediately moving towards
industrial action, in what it said was a reaction to the
airline's plans to fire and rehire thousands of workers.

Any strike action would add to BA's existing woes after
Britain imposed a 14-day quarantine on arrivals from Spain on
Sunday, dealing a blow to what is already a slow recovery in air
travel being seen by BA and other airlines.

Asked about the possible industrial action, BA said it had
to adapt to survive and called on the union to work towards
finding a solution, as the airline has done with the pilot union
BALPA, whose members will vote on a deal agreed with BA.

A BA spokeswoman said: "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 ... and
to protect jobs."

Unite's general secretary Len McCluskey said in a letter
seen by Reuters addressed to BA Chief Executive Alex Cruz and
dated July 27 that BA planned to fire and rehire staff on Aug.
7.

"We will work every hour between now and then, to convince
you not to do so," McCluskey said, adding that the letter should
be taken as an intention to move towards industrial action with
immediate effect.

BA said in April that it would need to cut up to 12,000 jobs
to survive the pandemic, which wiped out travel for months and
which won't recover for years.

It is currently flying only around 15% of its normal
schedule and faces difficulties in its biggest markets, the
United States and India, which are subject to UK quarantine
rules.

(Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Susan Fenton and David
Evans)

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