OVER 600 British Airways workers demonstrated outside Heathrow airport yesterday.
42,000 were sacked that day by BA management and will only be re-employed if they sign new contracts on very different and much worse terms and conditions.
They assembled at Tarmac Way car park where they gathered before setting off to march to a rally at Waterside roundabout.
Sarah Taylor, a cabin crew member for 23 years, told News Line: ‘It’s dire. The whole list of proposals that have been put forward are to put the company into profit again.
‘There is no need at all for any redundancies, BA are cash rich at the moment.
‘A mass walkout – that’s what’s needed in every department, the pilots as well.
‘Throughout the years they have been chipping away slowly.’
Caroline, another cabin crew member of 21 years, said: ‘It’s just unfair. So many good crew they are forcing out. People have given so many years to this company and made it what it is, they feel pressurised to leave.
‘I feel quite strongly the company was built by frontline staff, that’s why passengers keep coming back. They are sacrificial lambs, everyone is important.
‘The company should work with the union. The union has tried to speak to them. Good loyal crew are being made to pay.’
A lively march proceeded to the airport perimeter. All were expected to wear face masks with Willie Walsh on them.
However a group in the middle of the march, around the WRP led West London Council of Action, were determined to speak out against the betrayal of the union leadership.
They marched with slogans saying ‘Defend all BA jobs, call a national strike! No pay cuts, call the airport out! Occupy the airport, nationalise BA!’
Before the march began speakers addressed the workers. Tracey Bent, an organiser from Unite said, ‘It was a disgraceful strategy from BA. They say it was due to coronavirus, we know it’s about pure corporate greed.’
She said ‘they are a national disgrace. They failed to invest and are running it down in the relentless pursuit of profit.
‘You are the beating heart, you have made their millions, it is the most successful airline in the world.
‘They are addressing a temporary problem with a permanent solution. This is a smash and grab of your jobs while they are doing a shopping spree for other companies. No other airline treats workers with such contempt. Ryanair and other companies treat their workers better.’
Two more speakers addressed the gathering but they covered their faces with masks of Willie Walsh.
The march set off from the car park led by banners demanding that Tory MPs lead the fight.
One said: ‘Kwasi Kwarteng – Act now to stop BA betraying your constituents’. A similar banner was addressed to Tory MP, Dominic Raab.
At the rally at the Waterside roundabout there were a series of speakers. Sam Tarry, Labour MP for Ilford South, addressed the rally saying: ‘BA was a disgrace for behaving in this way for putting thousands of people on the scrap heap. They don’t even have the support on the Transport Committee.
‘IAG has £2.5 billion assets, BA made £2 billion profit for them last year – it’s their cash cow. . .
‘Where is our Prime MInister, our government should be stripping BA’s landing slots.
‘We have got to keep fighting to the end and force concessions from the government and cabinet members before they get in and protect the company.
‘BA now have gone for the jugular!’