British Airways cabin staff face a potential whopping 55% cut to their salaries as coronavirus brings the airline industry to its knees.
A letter received by staff yesterday outlines plans to slash cabin crew salaries to £24,000 ($29,048.88), while senior crew would have to downgrade to basic level pay.
Most senior crew – customer service managers – are currently on around £35,000, while some crew leaders – customer service directors – can earn up to £80,000 per year.
Unions are said to have threatened legal action and staff are planning on striking.
Unite's assistant general secretary Howard Beckett said: “British Airways are cynically and opportunistically using the coronavirus pandemic to make swathes of workers redundant while simultaneously slashing the terms and conditions of the staff who remain. The cuts in pay are between 55% and 75% for thousands of crew.
“We believe that this is not only potentially unlawful, but a complete abuse of the government job retention scheme which was put in place to protect employees.
“This is a complete betrayal of workers who have dedicated their lives to making the company the success it is today, who have helped build the huge cash reserves that enable BA to weather the current aviation crisis caused by COVID-19.”
Under the terms of the new offer, workers will receive commission from inflight sales and performance levels. They will also get a 5% “flew allowance” and benefits including dental, private health care, and up to 11% of company pension contributions.
British Airline Pilots Association general secretary Brian Strutton added: “Pilots in UK airlines have already taken pay cuts of up to 70% while planes have been grounded, and have now been slammed with job losses and opportunistic grabs at their terms and conditions.
“UK aviation is in a death spiral and while other countries are helping out their airlines the UK government is actually making things worse.”
British Airways recently confirmed 12,000 job cuts despite the government extending its furlough scheme until the end of October.
At the same time 50,000 British Airways customers are still owed refunds as the airline suspended most flights in March.
There is growing anger that the Government has not intervened when lenders and travel firms are illegally withholding cash that should be paid within a week for flights and 14 days for package deals.
The Labour party has urged the government to bail out the aviation industry – but insists that companies must have a clear plan for tackling climate change if they wish to receive help.