A member of the Senedd has called on British Airways (BA) to “pause, reflect and consider” amid fears jobs could be lost at its plant in Blackwood.
The airline has started a 45-day consultation with employees at its interiors plant at Hawtin Park, as well as at its sites at Cardiff Airport and Llantrisant.
There are fears jobs could be axed as the coronavirus crisis hits the aviation industry.
Rhianon Passmore MS, who represents Islwyn, has called on BA to “remove their section 188 notice and the threat of job closures as the UK Government determines its support for the aviation sector”.
Ms Passmore told Caerphilly Observer: “BA cannot legally consult at this time and has failed to communicate, with many workers hearing in the media about BA job cuts plans.
“IAG [BA’s parent company] has strong profitability and BA have very healthy reserves.”
Ms Passmore, who represents Labour, accused BA of using the Covid-19 crisis as an excuse for “restructuring and eroding terms and conditions whilst simultaneously fully accepting public money meant for job retention“.
She added: “This is wrong. BA cannot consult, have not cooperated, have not communicated and they have failed to work with the trade unions constructively.
“I, alongside my MP and MS colleagues strongly call upon BA to remove the notice now, and work with all parties, including Welsh Government, to find a way to safeguard valued jobs.
“We just cannot afford to lose high quality and well-paid jobs in Blackwood and the valleys.”
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Ms Passmore was one of a number of Labour Senedd Members and MPs to sign a letter addressed to BA, with questions such as how many staff members had received ‘at risk of redundancy’ notices, how many staff members could be affected by wider proposals, and how much BA has received from the UK Government for furlough, raised.
Islwyn MP Chris Evans said he was “pleased” to have added his name to the letter, and that he hopes “British Airways listen to our concerns and engage in meaningful dialogue to save jobs.”
Caerphilly MP Wayne David and Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney MP Gerald Jones also signed the letter.
In a statement, British Airways said it is “acting now to protect as many jobs as possible”.
The company added: “The airline industry is facing the deepest structural change in its history, as well as facing a severely weakened global economy.
“We are committed to consulting openly with our unions and our people as we prepare for a new future.”
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