British Airways: 800 staff offer to work for free

Almost 7,000 British Airways staff have agreed to take part in cost-saving measures, including 800 who said they will work unpaid for up to a month, the airline has announced.

Almost 7,000 BA staff have agreed to take a pay cut

Of the 40,000-strong workforce, 6,940 employees volunteered for the measures – with most opting for unpaid leave – which the company said will save up to £10 million.

Chief executive Willie Walsh, who has already announced that he will work unpaid for the month of July, said: “This is a fantastic first response. I want to thank everyone who has volunteered to help us pull through this difficult period.

“This response clearly shows the significant difference individuals can make.”

Options offered to staff included volunteering for between one and four weeks’ unpaid leave or unpaid work, with the pay deduction spread over three or six months.

Staff who have offered to work unpaid will still receive shift allowances and other payments, although they will forego their basic pay.

BA said around 4,000 staff had volunteered for unpaid leave, 1,400 will switch to part-time work and 800 put their names forward for unpaid work, while 740 overseas staff also volunteered to take part in the cost-saving drive.

The airline has been looking to slash costs as part of its survival plan after unveiling an annual loss of £400 million.

Around 2,500 jobs have been cut since last summer and the airline wants to shed another 3,000 posts across its business.

Talks are being held with union leaders to agree a pay and jobs package as part of the cash-saving drive, with Mr Walsh setting a deadline of June 30 for reaching agreement.

Around 10,000 of BA’s 40,000 staff already work part-time.

Mick Rix, national officer of the GMB union, reacted with anger to the release of the information while negotiations were continuing over cost-cutting at the airline.

He said staff had been influenced by the “scaremongering tactics” of the company.

Mr Rix said union leaders had asked BA earlier this week for information about how many staff had volunteered to work for nothing but were told it would take some time to collate the information.

“I find it disgusting that the company can make the announcement today. We are locked into hard negotiations on making significant financial savings but BA seems only interested in making headlines rather than reaching an acceptable deal.

“This irresponsible behaviour could lead to the negotiations unravelling and put us back to square one.”

Published: 5:46PM BST 25 Jun 2009

Source: The Telegraph

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