Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Work for free

What would you do if your firm asked you to work for nothing?

British Airways has asked its 40,000 staff to work without pay for up to a month as the ailing airline seeks to cut costs. The group, which made a record £401 million loss in 2008 amid surging fuel prices and a collapse in premium-fare passengers, is seeking to reduce costs dramatically and has already offered staff unpaid leave or a reduction in hours.

Willie Walsh, BA’s chief executive, has now gone a step further by asking staff to volunteer for between one and four weeks of unpaid work in what he says is a “fight for survival.” Mr Walsh, who said last week that he would work for free in July, has set a deadline of June 24 for employees to volunteer for unpaid work. He said that the salary deductions would be spread over three to six months wherever possible.

Wouldn't it be more honest if BA simply said to the staff we need to cut salaries by 5 percent. This "work for free" idea looks a lot like a publicity stunt.


roym said...

What a sodding cheek. WW can afford to skip a month of his £700K a year salary. What about someone on a less than stellar 25K? i bet the bank wont let them take a month off their mortgage? or the council forgo tax that month.

Chris said...

This isn't new or a publicity stut. California is doing the same thing just now. One American blogger thinks it is a con to scare workers into working for free.

Anonymous said...

Alice predictably fails to realise a a salary cut will affect your ongoing income in perpetuity, while an unpaid week/month will affect your income in the current year only.

Given the choice between a salary cut lasting one year or one lasting forever, guess which most people would choose? Not the one Alice recommends.

Anonymous said...

Personally I'd leave and go back to contracting.

But then not everybody has that option, I appreciate.

ed thomas said...

It just seems like catastrophic mismanagement to do this. I could be missing something, but it's like saying, "I hope you've got something saved up for a rainy day, staff, because your company hadn't". I think that a salary cut spread over one year would be better- but it should be disproportionately led from the boardroom. 90% cuts for them, maybe 9% for the workers.

Anonymous said...

Willie needs to make a call to the head of Japan's ANA airlines pronto. He needs to grovel and beg his forgiveness and generosity. And then he needs to do what the ANA boss did: live on a pound salary for a year until the financial problems are sorted. And the lowest paid in BA should not have any pay cuts.