Thousands of British Airways employees face job losses

LONDON (AP) — Some 4,000 British Airways workers are learning Friday whether they will be fired as the airline slashes jobs amid the drop in demand and travel restrictions stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The trade union Unite accused the airline of forcing workers out due to “naked company greed.’’ British Airways employees who keep their jobs face pay cuts.

“This is a very bleak day for the incredible BA workforce and will go down in the history of the airline as the day that it put the interests of the boardroom ahead of its passengers and workforce,’’ Unite Assistant Secretary General Howard Beckett said. “These workers have given years of dedicated service to this company, some as many as 40 years, and indeed to our country, as many were involved in the repatriation of British citizens at the outset of this pandemic.

“Today they will be dismissed by email by an employer whose spiteful mistreatment of them is nothing other than despicable,” he said.

Unions argue that while pilots were able to negotiate a deal that avoided massive job losses, others such as engineers, cabin crew members and airport workers were not given the same offer.

British Airways said Unite and another union, GMB, failed to attend consultation meetings during the past three months.

“Our half year results, published last week, clearly show the enormous financial impact of Covid-19 on our business,’’ British Airways said in a statement: “We are having to make difficult decisions and take every possible action now to protect as many jobs as possible.’’