Hundreds of jobs at Gatwick Airport are under threat as part of a cost-cutting initiative that was unveiled by British Airways today.
The carrier revealed that 400 baggage handlers, drivers and loaders would see their jobs outsourced, while 170 customer service staff and management support employees will be made redundant under the proposals.
BA is consulting with trade unions over the proposals, which should make it more competative in the short haul market.
BA said in a statement: “We have begun consultation with our trade unions on proposals to transform the way British Airways works at Gatwick.
“They are part of a wide-ranging plan to build a stronger and more cost-competitive business and safeguard jobs for the future.
“Proposals include outsourcing the ramp work, including baggage, de-icing and coaching operations, and the arrivals baggage service and combining roles within customer services.
“We hope to agree a proposal with the trade unions to offer anyone who works on the ramp a role with a new external supplier, under TUPE transfer legislation.
“We will do all we can to minimise the impact on people in the customer service teams, but it is likely there may be some staff reductions in this area and among the management team and support structure.
“As a traditional full-service carrier with a long history, we have to meet the challenge of transforming our cost base to compete more effectively in the short-haul market, while continuing to deliver outstanding service and value for our customers.”
Gavin Davies, of the GMB union, said: “GMB has up to now enjoyed good industrial relations with BA at Gatwick. This announcement of 170 job losses and 400 staff to be outsourced is a disaster for staff morale.
“Particularly so because in the run-up to the Olympics the uncertainty around jobs will lead to rock bottom morale and this will impact on customer service levels at a time when morale needs to be high.
“GMB will want talks with the company to get to the bottom of what it is trying to achieve at Gatwick and we will want to see proper consultations with our members on the way forward. GMB members want BA to take this announcement off the table to allow this to happen.”