Unite and GMB, the two main unions which represent British Airways staff, have reached an agreement with the airline on how workers will be protected during the coronavirus crisis.
We don’t have all of the details yet but Unite has released the bullet points below.
Unite does not mention how many staff are impacted but a similar press release from the GMB union mentions ‘over 30,000’.
Here are the key parts of the deal:
British Airways will introduce a modified version of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. This allows the airline to furlough workers on 80% of their current salary. The Guardian states that this will last until 31st May. Unlike the Government scheme, there will be no cap on earnings.
For crew, the 80% number includes both base pay and 80% of certain allowances, taking the nearer to 80% of their previous total income
Workers will be able to divert their pension contributions into their pay for a short period of time, boosting take-home income albeit at the expense of topping up their pension and benefiting from the tax breaks which come with that
There will be no unpaid temporary lay offs
There will be no redundancies and the on-going redundancy process will be halted
From what is known, this looks like an excellent deal for all British Airways who are impacted. The real winners are those on high salaries who will receive 80% of their entire salary rather than being capped at £2,500 per month. This is hugely expensive for the airline given the numbers of managerial staff who will benefit.
In theory, this remains a proposal and will not be binding until all Unite and GMB members who work for British Airways have voted on it. It is difficult to see anyone voting against the deal in its current form, however.
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