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British Airways Will Restore Pre-Pandemic Pay For Veteran Frontline Employees Who Had Their Wages Slashed in 2020

British Airways Will Restore Pre-Pandemic Pay For Veteran Frontline Employees Who Had Their Wages Slashed in 2020

British Airways is to restore pre-pandemic pay for potentially thousands of veteran frontline employees who had their wages slashed during the COVID-era when the carrier was blasted by MPs over its plans to ‘fire and rehire’ staff on lower pay and reduced terms and conditions.

Following the conclusion of protracted pay talks that will see most frontline employees receive a 12.5% pay hike over the next two years, the airline also said it would work to restore pay back to 2019 levels for some long-serving workers who are still earning less than before the pandemic.

Tailfins of BA Boeing 747s that were retired early during the pandemic. Shutterstock

Set against a cost of living crisis and unsettling inflation levels, British Airways has been locked in talks with two major unions since December 2022 as the two sides thrashed out an agreement.

British Airways was heavily criticised during the pandemic when it came up with a scheme to force employees to accept massive pay cuts or face the threat of redundancy. The scheme was quickly dubbed ‘fire and rehire’ by unions who led a high-profile campaign against the carrier.

The campaign quickly built up traction, and in June 2020, an influential group of MPs labelled British Airways a “national disgrace” over its plans to ‘fire and rehire’ thousands of staff.

The Transportation Selection Committee said the manner in which BA treated its staff at the height of the pandemic fell “well below the standards we would expect from any employer”.

In the end, British Airways was able to avoid the massive redundancies some had feared, but many veteran employees were forced to accept permanent pay cuts of between 10% and 30%. Fearing they would lose their jobs, many others took voluntary redundancy and were later rehired at lower wages.

Last summer, things nearly came to a head when hundreds of check-in staff at BA’s Heathrow hub voted to take part in strike action to win back a pandemic-era 10% pay cut.

The Unite union said its members were “claiming back what they had robbed from them due to BA’s callous fire and rehire during the pandemic”.

The latest pay deal will dramatically reduce the risk of industrial unrest at the airline until the end of 2024. British Airways did not respond to a request for comment.

View Comments (2)
  • It’s a shame us staff that were threatened into taking “voluntary” redundancy with a pitiful payout will not be getting more money! 30 years service and a statutory redundancy package

  • Having just announced £1.1 BILLION *half year* profits, it’s pretty clear they’re giving their team as little as possible to one of the few remaining quality aspects of BA “service”

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