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British Airways, union agree to suspend 36,000 workers

By
Don Jacobson
A British Airways Airbus A380 arrives at Washington Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Va. File Photo by Molly Riley/UPI
A British Airways Airbus A380 arrives at Washington Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Va. File Photo by Molly Riley/UPI | License Photo

April 2 (UPI) -- British Airways is expected to suspend as many as 36,000 employees, including cabin crews and office employees due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The airline has reached a broad agreement with the Unite union on the measure that would affect up to 80 percent of the carrier's workforce. The agreement, however, involves no permanent layoffs.

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The airline suspended all flights to and from London's Gatwick Airport this week due to low passenger demand. The staff furloughs, to include office staffers, ground and flight crews and engineers, will apply to Gatwick and London City Airport.

Under the deal, suspended staff will continue to receive most of their salaries through the British government's coronavirus job retention program, which will reimburse the lower of 80 percent of salary costs.

The furloughs follow similar moves by British carriers Virgin Atlantic and Easyjet.

The International Air Transport Association said this week airlines worldwide are spending cash reserves amid lower demand and revenues.

The industry group said revenues are expected to decline by 68 percent in the second quarter. The global industry is expected to post a quarterly net loss of up to $40 billion.

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A health worker with the Israeli national emergency service, Magen David Adam, wears protective gear while taking swabs to test for COVID-19 at a drive-through testing center in East Jerusalem on August 26. Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI | License Photo

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