According to British Airways, hundreds of veteran frontline workers who lost their pre-pandemic salary during the COVID era after the carrier was criticized by MPs for its plans to “fire and rehire” people on lower pay and worse terms and conditions may now receive their pre-pandemic compensation.
The airline also announced it would try to restore pay to 2019 levels for those long-serving staff who are still earning less than they were prior to the epidemic after the conclusion of protracted wage talks that will see the majority of frontline personnel receive a 12.5% pay boost over the next two years.
British Airways has been fighting out a deal with two main unions since December 2022, all the while facing a cost of living problem and disturbing inflation levels.
When British Airways devised a plan to make staff accept significant salary cuts or risk being laid off, the airline received harsh criticism during the pandemic. Unions soon labeled the plan “fire and rehire” and launched a well-publicized campaign against the airline.
The Transportation Selection Committee stated that BA handled its employees “well below the standards we would expect from any employer” during the height of the pandemic.
British Airways was ultimately able to prevent the widespread layoffs that some had feared, but many seasoned workers had to accept permanent wage cuts of between 10% and 30%. Many others chose voluntary redundancy out of fear of losing their employment, and they were eventually rehired at lower pay.
When hundreds of check-in employees at BA’s Heathrow hub opted to participate in strike action to recoup a 10% salary cut from the pandemic era, things almost came to a head last summer.
The Unite union claimed that as a result of BA’s callous fire and rehire during the pandemic, its members were “claiming back what they had been robbed from them.”
The latest pay deal will dramatically reduce the risk of industrial unrest at the airline until the end of 2024.