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Shadow Foreign Secretary Tells British Airways to Restore Pandemic Pay Cuts After Admitting He Got Facts Wrong

Shadow Foreign Secretary Tells British Airways to Restore Pandemic Pay Cuts After Admitting He Got Facts Wrong

British Airways Pilots and Cabin Crew and Ground Staff Demand 5% Pay Raise and Profit Sharing

Labour MP for Tottenham and Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy says British Airways must restore pandemic pay cuts that it forced upon thousands of workers after he apoligised for “getting it wrong” when he said he opposed threatened strike action by check-in staff.

On Wednesday, Lammy said “BA must restore the pay of their loyal workforce” and urged the government to “address chronic low pay in aviation”.

Hundreds of British Airways check-in staff have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action in a bid to win back a 10 per cent pay cut that was forced upon them at the height of the pandemic. BA has allegedly restored pandemic pay cuts to managers but not to thousands of frontline employees.

But in an interview at the weekend, Lammy said he “categorically” opposed a strike because the Labour party was “serious about the business of being in Government.”

His comments drew a quick rebuke from the Unite union who not only represents some of the BA check-in staff but is also the Labour party’s biggest financial donor. Unite general secretary Sharon Graham accused Lammy of “launching a direct attack” on BA workers in a “new low” for Labour.

Yesterday, Lammy said he had made a mistake. “Those of us in public life should admit our mistakes,” the lawmaker said on Twitter. “That’s why I’m apologising to all BA workers for getting it wrong on Sunday.”

In a letter to constituents, Lammy said he wasn’t aware of the facts of the BA dispute when he commented on it and initially thought the check-in staff were seeking an inflation-busting 10 per cent pay rise.

British Airways says it is “committed” to finding a solution to the current dispute but the airline is refusing to restore pandemic-era pay cuts. Chief executive Sean Doyle says the airline is gearing up for a “summer of discontent” amidst planned strikes by check-in staff and wide support for larger walkouts by other workgroups.

As well as restoring pay cuts to management-level employees, there is also disquiet over the “excessive” pay package for the chief executive of BA’s parent company. IAG chief executive Luis Gallego is paid £20,000 a month to maintain two homes in London and Madrid, on top of a base salary of £820,000 before bonuses.

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