Thousands of BA cabin crew vote to accept pay cuts

Thousands of British Airways cabin crew have voted to accept pay cuts as the firm battles to survive. 

The airline and its parent company, IAG, are on major drives to bolster their balance sheets. 

IAG is trying to raise €2.74billion (£2.5billion) on the stock market while BA has outlined plans to cut thousands of jobs. 

Survival bid: BA cabin crew overwhelmingly voted in favour of pay deals negotiated between BA and trade unions

Survival bid: BA cabin crew overwhelmingly voted in favour of pay deals negotiated between BA and trade unions

Survival bid: BA cabin crew overwhelmingly voted in favour of pay deals negotiated between BA and trade unions

BA cabin crew based at Heathrow and Gatwick – along with baggage handlers at Heathrow – last week overwhelmingly voted in favour of pay deals negotiated between BA and trade unions. 

The company initially said it would have to make 12,000 redundancies, but chief executive Alex Cruz suggested at a hearing before the Transport Select Committee last week that the final number would be nearer 10,000.

It is thought several thousand jobs have been saved because BA staff have agreed to accept voluntary redundancy, part-time employment, flexible working or by taking unpaid leave to get the airline through the winter. 

The latest agreements, after almost five months of consultation, mean the vast majority of BA’s 42,000 employees have agreed deals, while more than 7,000 have accepted voluntary redundancy. The majority of the remaining departures will take place by the end of the month. 

BA lost £711million between March and June, compared to £309million in the first three months of 2009 after the financial crisis. It is burning through £20million a day. In the first week of September it flew 180,000 passengers, compared to 995,000 in the same week last year. 

Meanwhile, IAG is this weekend scrambling to convince shareholders to back its emergency fundraising. 

The cash call is designed to help the group survive a prolonged downturn in air travel. Demand is not expected to recover until 2024. 

IAG is understood to have more than 100,000 retail shareholders in the UK. It is urging them to take up the three-for-two share offer as it issues almost three billion new shares at a discounted price. 

An IAG spokesman said: ‘We encourage all shareholders to make themselves aware of their rights so that they know what their options are.’ 

Qatar Airways, IAG’s biggest investor with a 25.1 per cent stake, will be subscribing to the rights issue. 

The move was approved by shareholders at the annual meeting on September 8. 

Meanwhile, it emerged last week that tour operator TUI is thought to be planning a fundraising of up to €1billion to see it through the winter amid ballooning debt which analysts say could hit €4.5billion by the end of the year.

TUI’s largest shareholder Alexey Mordashov, a Russian billionaire, has committed €300million, according to German newspaper Handelsblatt.

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