It is hard to find words to say about the current global situation which don’t already sound like clichés – unprecedented, incredible, unexpected etc. ABAP’s certainly had our own share of issues, for example we’ve had to suspend regular committee meetings, we have experienced difficulties with communications to members, and we’ve just received the news that the venue which we use for our AGM (scheduled for 22nd October 2020) will not be available until 2021 at the earliest.
However, this pales into insignificance when it comes to the aviation industry’s predicament and particularly that of colleagues still employed at British Airways. They are facing huge changes to their working environment. Many face redundancy and those that remain face significant adverse changes to their contracts of employment, possibly to be implemented by a fire and rehire policy. There is enormous disapproval of some of the actions BA is proposing, from the trade unions, public, the media and in Parliament. Your committee and I share this disapproval. While there have to be some difficult decisions to be made, some of the proposals do appear to be taking advantage of the cover of the Covid-19 crisis.
It is in everyone’s interests that a strong, vigorous and successful British Airways continues to exist. A key factor in the airline’s success to date is its loyal and dedicated staff, something which has always featured prominently in BA’s and its predecessor’s advertising. BA’s (or is it really IAG’s?) current position risks squandering that legacy. We hope that BA can be persuaded to rethink its proposals into a more acceptable form. BA people have coped with tough changes previously and can do so again, but please Mr. Walsh & Mr. Cruz, be fair to your staff.