Workers and supporters from British Airways (BA) who accuse the airline of a betrayal over their contracts staged protests in Epsom and Weybridge today (August 6).

The demonstrations marked a spread in the growing protest campaign, led by workers and the Unite trade union, against the BA's response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

BA employees and their supporters have accused the airline of floating plans to make its entire workforce of over 40,000 workers redundant and only re-hire those willing to take on an inferior terms contract.

On Thursday, dozens of workers in Epsom, Weybridge and Runnymede staged protests demanding government intervention against British Airways over the treatment of its workforce.

This Is Local London: Protesters against British Airways' 'betrayal' of its employees wear masks and physically distance themselves at a protest in Weybridge. Image: Unite the UnionProtesters against British Airways' 'betrayal' of its employees wear masks and physically distance themselves at a protest in Weybridge. Image: Unite the Union

"Boris Johnson’s words of support for BA staff and his talk of 'jobs, jobs, jobs' is empty rhetoric unless the Government acts," Unite Executive Officer Sharron Graham said Thursday.

"There must be consequences for British Airways' decision to press ahead with its plans to fire and rehire its workforce in the middle of the worst health crisis in a century," she added.

As for what those consequences might look like, BA Betrayal campaigners were boosted in recent weeks by a group of MPs over 150 strong and including Labour Leader Kier Starmer who are calling for some of BA's lucrative runway slots at Heathrow to be revoked.

Protesters on Thursday held aloft placards bearing a slogan "Take Back The Slots" in support of the measure.

BA said previously any plans for job losses or changes in contracts were floated with a view to consultation and that no redundancies have been confirmed so far.

Yet workers on their payroll say the current speculation around the employment crisis, and the way it has been handled by BA, have left them distraught.

"I have worked for BA for 45 years and like the 747 Jumbo Jet I am being forced onto the scrap heap and find it disgusting that BA is using a worldwide pandemic for corporate greed," one demonstrator from BA's Worldwide Cabin Crew said.

Unionised BA workers have said previously their mental health has been severely impacted by BA's suggestion of job losses, with suicides reported among company employees in recent weeks.


Demonstrators in Epsom meanwhile demanding action of their Conservative MP Chris Grayling in the case.

"Public anger is growing and many MPs from across the political divide are already calling for a review of landing and take-off slots in response to BA's project fire and rehire," Graham said.

"There should be consequences to BA’s actions. The company is essentially creating an unrecognisable airline – it should not automatically control over half the landing slots at Heathrow," she added.