Bridgwater Demo Supports BA Workers over ‘Fire and Re-Hire’

Demonstrators in central Bridgwater this week

Trades Unionists turned out in Bridgwater this week to back UNITE colleagues  in conflict with British Airways. Amongst the demonstrators was Bridgwater Labour Councillor and Transport spokesperson Cllr Glen Burrows who said “British Airways is acting illegally and immorally in claiming massive subsidies from taxpayers to pay its workers during furlough and then firing 12,000, while re-hiring the remaining 30,000 on inferior conditions, with pay cuts of up to 50%. All without any consultation with the workers’ union representatives. The government should insist that British Airways repay the money given to them during furlough, and BA should meet with Unite the union if it needs to negotiate changes in workforce and conditions. There are, of course, environmental concerns about the aviation industry, but putting workers on the scrapheap is not the way to address them. ”

Workers protest outside Tory Offices

British Airways workers and constituents in Bridgwater and West Somerset are calling for concrete action from Ian Liddell-Grainger MP to support BA workers amid growing anger over the companys intention to fire its workforce and rehire those that survive on inferior contracts. MPs from across the political divide are calling for a review of landing and take-off slots in response to BAs project fire and rehire. Over 200 MPs have signed a pledge calling for government action but the Conservative Government have not yet acted. Boris Johnson emailed BA staff in June stating that: “employers should not be using tax payer’s money through the furlough scheme to cynically keep them on their books only to fire them or attack their terms on conditions.” Yet there has been no action from the Government. BA has ploughed ahead with making thousands of workers redundant and is now seeking to dramatically reduce pay and terms for thousands of staff who remain.

Tough Action against BA called for

Protests in Bridgwater

A recent poll revealed that the British public backs tough action against British Airways over its ‘fire and rehire’ plans, with voters giving strong support for the introduction of legislation to strip the nations flag carrying airline of its privileged access to UK landing slots. A Survation poll of over 2000 people, including over 1219 BA passengers across the UK, revealed that 69% of all those surveyed believed the government should review the UKs current arrangements on landing slots (vs just 16% saying the government should not) with even  76% of Conservative voters backing a review.

Unite executive officer Sharon Graham said: “Boris Johnson’s words of support for BA staff and his talk of jobs, jobs, jobs ; is empty rhetoric unless the Government acts. There must be consequences for British Airways; decision to press ahead with its plans to fire and rehire its workforce in the middle of the worst health crisis in a century.  BA staff and constituents want to see action from MP  Ian Liddell-Grainger already calling
for a review of landing and take-off slots in response to BAs project fire and rehire. Why isn’t Ian Liddell-Grainger?  There should be consequences to BA’s actions. The company is essentially creating an unrecognisable airline – it should not aically control over half the landing slots at Heathrow.  It is simply wrong for BA to have privileged access to landing slots while its workforce is sacrificed for the benefit of shareholders. Boris Johnson needs to take back control from BA and fight for British jobs.

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John Fones
John Fones
3 years ago

The protest was a good idea. Shame, though, that the slogan had to say “Stop Betraying Britain”. I know it was positioned against “British Airways”, but it still sounds like nationalism verging on xenophobia to me.
“Stop betraying workers.”

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