British Airways To Avoid Job Cuts But May Suspend 36,000 Staff

It looks as though British Airways is expected to make no staff redundant as a result of the current aviation crisis. However, it will come at the cost of 36,000 employees being suspended, according to sources.

British Airways, Job Cuts, Staff Suspensions
It appears as though British Airways has dodged job-cuts as a result of the current aviation climate. Photo: British Airways

Airlines across the globe are suffering from a global drop in demand to travel by air. This situation has led to a tricky time for those looking to move people from A to B via the air. In fact, it has already led British Airways to suspend its daily service from London to Sydney via Singapore.

No job cuts

It looks as though British Airways has found a way to avoid the loss of jobs as a result of the aviation downturn. The BBC this morning reported that “no staff are expected to be made redundant.” The news will surely come as a welcome relief to many British Airways employees.

It also marks a departure from a stark warning issued by the airline’s CEO, Alex Cruz, last month. Around mid-March, in an internal memo seen by Simple Flying, Cruz warned that we are experiencing a crisis “like no other we have known”.  He went on to write,

“To be frank, given the changing circumstances, we can no longer sustain our current level of employment and jobs will be lost”.

British Airways, Job Cuts, Coronavirus
Alex Cruz had warned of job cuts previously. Photo: British Airways

Staff expected to be suspended

While no jobs are expected to be lost there is, of course, another part to the story. According to the BBC’s reporting, up to 80% of British Airways staff are expected to be suspended. This would equate to approximately 36,000 members of staff from all across the business. Included would be engineers, cabin crew, airport staff, and those in office roles.

The exact details of what will happen are reportedly still being finessed by British Airways in consultation with the Unite union. In response to a request from Simple Flying, a British Airways spokesperson said:

“Talks continue”

British Airways, Job Cuts, Staff Suspensions
Around 36,000 staff from across the airline are expected to be suspended. Photo: British Airways

What will happen to the suspended staff?

Staff who are suspended will continue to be paid according to the arrangement under discussion between British Airways and Unite. This would see staff placed on a government scheme designed to protect jobs. The government will pay staff 80% of their usual salary, up to a total of £2,500 per month.

What about the pilots?

Today’s report by the BBC specifically looks at those represented by the Unite union. However, British Airways pilots are represented by the BALPA union. As such, separate negotiations are ongoing regarding the pilots. According to the Independent: “BALPA had previously negotiated a temporary pay cut and unpaid leave on behalf of BA’s 4,000 pilots”.

British Airways, Job Cuts, Staff Suspensions
It is believed discussions regarding pilots are ongoing. Photo: British Airways

However, on the 17th of March, the union issued a statement saying: “We are reassured that BA has agreed to work with us to avoid the need for any compulsory dismissals; for us job security is absolutely paramount.”

What do you make of this news? Let us know what you think and why in the comments.