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BRITISH AIRWAYS was accused today of putting 30,000 jobs at risk as airports nationwide face closure “within weeks” due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The GMB union said Britain’s national carrier had taken the unprecedented step of issuing an HR1 consultation notice for redundancies without specifying the number of jobs at risk.
National officer Nadine Houghton said: “British Airways appear to be putting all staff on notice of redundancy.
“That’s 30,000 people whose livelihoods are at immediate risk as a result of this global pandemic, with tens of thousands more supply-chain and wider-economy jobs in danger.
“It’s clear the government must step in to save this crucial plank of the UK economy.
“But British Airways can’t be given carte blanche to use bailout cash to line the pockets of fat cats.
“Any state intervention must come with a rock-solid commitment to save the jobs and pay of all British Airways workers.”
Airports across the country have warned that they will shut down “within weeks” unless the government intervenes.
The Airport Operators Association called for emergency financing “as a measure of last resort,” with air-passenger duty suspended for six months and VAT payments deferred.
Chief executive Karen Dee said: “Governments across the world are supporting their national aviation industries, as many parts of the global travel industry have come to a halt.
“As some airlines call on the UK government to act similarly, we are clear that airports will shut down in weeks unless urgent action is taken to support the industry.”
She called on the government to make “an unequivocal commitment to doing whatever it takes to sustain the UK aviation industry.
“For the sake of the UK economy, it is essential for the UK government to catch up to its peers across the continent and provide support to the sector and the wider economy through financing, guarantees, grants and tax relief.”
GMB also stressed that any bailout for the aviation industry must include staff employed by outsourced contractors and shops at British airports.
The Foreign Office has placed an initial 30-day restriction on all non-essential trips abroad.
BA had not responded to requests for comment at the time of writing.
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