In an e-mail to all its staff, British Airways is asking thousands of people to work for free AND for up to four weeks. British Airways offered workers between one and four weeks of unpaid leave with the option to work during this period. British Airways employs just more than 40,000 people in the United Kingdom.
The reason? Last month, the company posted a record annual loss of £400 million ($656 million). Its chief executive declared at the time there were “absolutely no signs of recovery” in the industry.
As expected, a spokesman for one of Britain’s biggest unions said its workers could not afford to work for free for a month. He pointed out that the airline was not ordering staff to work without pay. Likeother premium-class airlines, British Airways is losing customers to cheaper rivals.
The airline’s premium passenger numbers fell 13 percent in the second half of last year, in line with the industry average. Total traffic fell 3.4 percent and while the airline carried 33.1 million passengers last year, it was a drop of 4.3 percent from the previous year.