British Airways “Black Friday”; Willie Walsh gets his revenge

Some 20,000 British Airways staff have lost their jobs, either forcibly or through what might be legally voluntary, but was for almost everyone who chose it, compelled redundancy.

Your choices were take “voluntary” redundancy – which meant a slightly higher payout than being forced, or be compelled at a lower rate. Those with the choice to risk it might have kept their jobs, or if they lost it today, would have received a lower payment.

If you were ‘lucky’ enough to keep your job you face a real income loss of between 40% and 50% of your salary. Some basic pay would rise slightly but virtually all allowances, which made up to 40% of pay, has been slashed. The new terms of the reduced pay contacts are severe.

All of this is bad enough, but the public and political anger is huge. BA took millions in furlough pay from the taxpayer, designed to conserve jobs.

The cuts are not under any reverse promises, namely that when things do get better, BA will look to restore terms and pay.

The unions and staff are angry, passengers are not happy either. BA seems keen to continue to charge premium fares while paying its staff RyanAir money.

This has always been what Willie Walsh wanted. He and IAG have no concern for people or standards, fairness or quality of service. They are only interested in the bottom line.

And IAG has made itself a rod for its own back, spending £1 billion on buying AirEuropa in Spain, while cratering staff morale, livelihoods and pay at home.

Nobody disagrees that the aviation industry is in trouble, nobody thought everyone would keep their jobs. What they expected was to be treated fairly, with dignity. The public as taxpayers expected better, but of course they never got it from a company that is no longer British and for many no longer deserves to carry the flag.

Instead BA has been ruthless and mercenary. It has trodden on everyone, used the British taxpayer, and it should be made to give back every penny.

Willie Walsh will consider this a success. His shareholders will be pleased. His bonus will probably rise. He put off his retirement in March to carry the airline group through this crisis. So he can retire on a massive pension, paid for by the hard work and dashed livelihoods of those who today, have been thrown on the scrap heap after years of loyal service.