1,200 more jobs to go as BA unveils losses

Author: By Graeme Evans and Alan Jones, Press Association

Most of the new losses will be overseas and follows a high response from staff
wanting to work part-time or take voluntary redundancy, the airline said.

The new job cut figure was released as BA announced a record pre-tax loss of
£292 million for the six months to the end of September.

The airline, which recorded a loss of £401 million in its previous financial
year, said total revenues slumped by almost 14% in the period.

It is the first time BA has recorded a first half loss – normally a buoyant
period for the airline as it includes the holiday season.

The deficit is around £40 million higher than City analysts had been
expecting. Even when items such as pension costs are excluded BA made a loss
of £111 million, against a profit of £140 million a year earlier.

BA had previously announced plans to cut its workforce by 3,700 by next March,
including around 2,000 cabin crew, 1,000 check-in and other customer facing
staff and the rest made up of managers, pilots and admin workers.

Around 1,900 jobs have been lost this year, so a further 3,000 will go by next
March.

BA chief executive Willie Walsh said there were still no “green shoots of
recovery” in the aviation industry, maintaining it remained in recession.

“We were quick to respond to the crisis by taking out excess capacity and, at
the same time, driving down unit costs by 5.2%.

“This demonstrates how well our costs have been managed in the first half and
it is imperative we continue to deliver on our plans to reduce costs further
in the second half. With revenue likely to be £1 billion lower this year, we
can’t stand still and further cost reduction is essential.”

Mr Walsh said changes, including new contracts of employment, will come into
force on November 16 despite a legal challenge from Unite and the threat of
industrial action by cabin crew.

Thousands of workers are to be balloted on strikes, with the result due on
December 14, but Mr Walsh said talk of strikes was “premature”.

He said the airline would be doing everything it could to “re-engage” with
Unite, but he stressed: “We must continue to reduce our cost base. This is
an airline facing structural change and we must respond with a structural
change to our cost base.”

Unite has complained that the changes would lead to lower pay and conditions
for new staff and would affect earnings of current workers.

Mr Walsh said “reasonable progress” had been made in talks with unions
representing check-in and other terminal-based staff, but there had been
“little or no progress” during nine months of discussions with cabin crew
leaders.

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