South Scotland MSP and Scottish Labour’s Transport Spokesperson Colin Smyth joined Unite the Union in Dumfries on Tuesday (Sept 1) to demand local MP and Secretary of State for Scotland Alister Jack sign the British Airways pledge to protect the jobs, terms and conditions of thousands of British Airways workers.

British Airways is a market leader and an integral part of Britain’s transport and logistics infrastructure. However, despite the calls of thousands of British citizens and the backing of hundreds of MPs, BA are driving forward with their plans to drastically cut staff numbers and terms and conditions, forcing through permanent ‘solutions’ to a temporary problem.

British Airways is the only company proposing to fire all its 42,000 staff and re-hire those that survive on inferior terms and conditions of employment.

Colin Smyth has given his backing to the campaign and fears that as the UK Government furlough scheme winds down, other companies could follow BA in making staff redundant and then employing them on lower wages and conditions.

Colin Smyth said: “I’m backing Unite’s ‘BA betrayal’ campaign to not just support British Airways workers who are being fired and then re-hired on poorer terms and conditions but to fight to ensure this doesn’t happen to others. It is shocking that one of the UK’s most iconic companies is treating its staff like this.

“A number of people in the region are employed by BA but this is a wider issue than just one company. My big fear is that as the Government furlough schemes winds down we see more and more companies following BA in making staff redundant and then re-employing them on poorer wages and conditions.

“We need to take this message directly to the Tory Government and that’s why it is so important Unite came to Dumfries on Tuesday to demand Alister Jack sign the pledge.

“So far the response from the UK Government has been disgraceful, they seem more concerned about protecting the interests of BA’s parent company IAG, than helping the hard-pressed BA workers who are living through one of the most terrible periods for the UK aviation industry.”

Unite executive officer Sharon Graham said: “Many thousands of BA workers are being subjected to the most brutal ‘fire and rehire’ strategy. British Airways are a national disgrace.. They slash workers terms and conditions whilst acquiring a new airline.

“So far, 280 MPs have added their names to the call for BA’s privileged landing slots to be reviewed and the numbers continue to grow. BA needs to pull back from their scorched earth approach.”

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