‘This is not the way we do things in Britain’ — Romford MP adds name to petition supporting British Airways workers
PUBLISHED: 17:06 26 August 2020 | UPDATED: 21:05 26 August 2020
Romford MP Andrew Rosindell has thrown his support behind British Airways (BA) workers by signing the petition which demands a review of the airline’s landing slots, should it not change its employment practices.
Mr Rosindell added his name to the petition — now at 8,104 signatures — after being lobbied by a group of aggrieved workers at Havering Town Hall on Tuesday, August 25.
The protest centres on the airline’s alleged “fire and rehire” approach, with BA accused of giving redundancy notices to most of its 42,000 workers, only to then offer new jobs to a proportion of them under diminished terms.
A number of Romford-based workers were amongst those who urged Mr Rosindell to join his 240-plus Westminster colleagues who have already promised to review the slots.
Some offered their thoughts on the situation.
One worker said: “I have been pushed into taking voluntary redundancy by a bunch of ruthless thugs. Twenty five years of loyal service; I feel absolutely worthless, like I have been thrown on a heap of rubbish.”
Another added: “After 31 years I feel let down by a company I loved, how they can let us go so easy I am surprised about their attitude.”
In a speech to the group Mr Rosindell said: “I am very grateful that you are highlighting this issue for the people of Romford and the wider borough of Havering. Most of us travel with British Airways and we see it as a national airline, and the word ‘British’ to me means ‘fair play’.
“The way British Airways are behaving today is thoroughly reprehensible, and they should not be allowed to do so. The people who have worked for British Airways for many decades, some of you are here today, do not deserve to lose your jobs and be brought back on worse terms.
“This is not the way we do things in Britain.”
These workers have received cross-party support, with Gooshays Labour councillor Cllr Carole Beth condemning the airline: “Our rights are being eroded and it is disgusting what BA is doing. We have to make a stand or else other companies will do the same.”
When contacted, British Airways stated that they had not issued redundancy notices, but rather “s188 notices, which are legally required when a company is entering into a period of collective consultation”.
The airline added the following statement: “For more than 100 years British Airways has been flying millions of people around the world. Today that world remains largely closed.
“This is the biggest challenge the airline and our industry has ever faced. Sadly, the global pandemic has resulted in job losses across every industry. Many airlines have already made thousands of staff redundant.
“We are not immune to this crisis. We have to adapt to survive, so we will continue with the proper, lawful consultative process and we will keep inviting union representatives to discuss our proposals to the serious challenges we face. It is not too late to find solutions — as we have done with British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) — and to protect jobs.”
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