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BA's Cruz says 'fire and hire' plan is withdrawn

Wed 16 September 2020 12:39 | A A A

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(Sharecast News) - British Airways has said employees will not be forced to sign new contracts under a draft deal agreed with unions.

Alex Cruz, the airline's boss, told a committee of MPs "agreements in principle" had been reached with non-pilot unions so that its so-called fire and hire approach woud not be needed.

BA, owned by IAG, sparked uproar when it announced up to 12,000 job cuts and told remaining employees they would be rehired with worse terms and conditions.

Cruz told the transport committee if unions accepted the proposals there would be no need to issue new contracts and that he hoped the process would finish at the end of this week.

The committee's chairman Huw Merriman, who had criticised BA's proposal, said the plan to fire and rehire now appeared to be "off the table".

But the Unite trade union said the threat of fire and rehire still hung over many of its members at BA and that Cruz's comments were not completely correct.

Unite's assistant general secretary Howard Beckett said: "If Alex Cruz wishes to take this opportunity to say that he is removing this threat from our members then Unite is more than ready to talk. Draft agreements with British Airways will not be finalised by Unite until members have voted on them and agreed to changes in their contracts."

He said any changes to contracts should be temporary and that once BA returns to profit cuts in pay and conditions should be restored.

Cruz said he understood MPs' concerns but that the cuts were needed to keep BA alive after Covid-19 caused massive losses. Passenger numbers are down by about 80%, he said.

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