A number of constituents who live in Wycombe and work for British Airways have been in touch in recent weeks about the awful situation they are in due to the coronavirus crisis and BA’s response to it.
This is an appalling time for BA staff and their families. I have made a number of interventions to represent them, and in particular we have:
- Written to the Secretary of State for Transport to raise the concerns of constituents who had contacted me, and to ask that the Government ensure that as many jobs are protected as possible.
- Written to the Transport Select Committee before its evidence session with the CEO of IAG, BA’s parent company, to raise constituents’ issues: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/153/transport-committee/news/146359/willie-walsh-questioned-on-the-implications-of-coronavirus-covid19/
- The Committee has now released a report strongly condemning BA, which you can read here: https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/transport-committee/news-parliament-2017/impact-of-coronavirus-on-aviation-report-published/
- Co-signed a letter by Henry Smith MP to the Government calling for an extended and flexible Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to support people working for BA, and in the aviation industry more widely: https://www.henrysmith.info/sites/www.henrysmith.info/files/2020-06/200605%20letter%20to%20HMT%20%28Future%20of%20Aviation%20Group%29.pdf
- Supported the application for a debate on Parliament on this topic. Unfortunately I wasn’t successful in the ballot to speak but many of my colleagues, including other Bucks MPs, raised the issues which had been put to me by constituents. You can read the debate here: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2020-06-03/debates/84D81089-A209-40D5-BC5F-04BA6314B794/Covid-19Aviation
- Submitted Written Parliamentary Questions to the Treasury asking what steps they will take to better support those at BA, and more generally about plans support to the wider aviation industry: https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2020-06-29/66038/ plus https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2020-06-29/66040/
I am aware of a Private Members’ Bill introduced by Gavin Newlands MP which seeks to prevent BA and other companies from adopting “fire and re-hire” tactics. This has little chance of becoming law. Companies should behave responsibly but there is already recourse through employment law for those who believe they have been treated unfairly.
Finally, I know ministers and MPs, especially on the Transport Select Committee, will be keeping a close eye on developments. People must not be mistreated and BA ought not to fail over this disease. The situation is complex and the stakes are high. I will continue to represent the interests of local people.