BA staff 'cannot work for free', says union

Union officials responded to a cost-saving offer from British Airways for staff to take unpaid leave by insisting today that their members cannot afford to work for free.

Union officials responded to a cost-saving offer from British Airways for staff to take unpaid leave by insisting today that their members cannot afford to work for free.

Chief executive Willie Walsh, who has already announced he will not draw his salary in July, announced that staff will be able to opt for one-week blocks of unpaid leave or unpaid work, with salary deductions spread over three to six months.

BA said: “This will help minimise the financial impact on individuals, while helping to immediately save cash for the business.

“The new unpaid work option means people can contribute to the cash-saving effort by coming to work while effectively volunteering for a small cut in base pay.”

Mr Walsh said: “I am looking for every single part of the company to take part in some way in this cash-effective way of helping the company’s survival plan. It really counts.”

A spokesman for Unite said: “Willie Walsh can afford to work a month for free. Our members can’t.”

Mick Rix, national officer for the GMB union, said: “Most workers may consider this request if and when the company’s executives take permanent and radical action to reduce their own remuneration packages.”

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