I have received a number of emails from constituents who are concerned about the decisions that have been taken by British Airways in recent weeks. I fully appreciate and acknowledge that this must be a very worrying and upsetting time for British Airways employees and their families.
I regret the commercial decisions that BA have announced, not least because the airline was benefiting from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which was not designed to fund the wages of employees only for companies to put the same staff on notice of redundancy during the furlough period.
There can be no doubt that the aviation sector is facing serious challenges. However, making use of the unprecedented support available, such as the deferral of VAT payments, the Covid Corporate Financing Facility and of course the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, is clearly preferable to making employees redundant. Organisations who do decide to make employees redundant should do so with fairness. Indeed, businesses are judged by the way they behave and by the way they treat their employees, and British Airways are no different.
I also want to reassure constituents that the Department for Work and Pensions is ready to help affected employees identify and access the support that is available, and I am supporting those constituents in Southport personally who have been made redundant by BA by writing to Ministerial colleagues and others about their particular circumstances.