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British Airways asks staff to work for a month for free

By Kesavan Unnikrishnan     Jun 17, 2009 in Business
British Airways management asked it's 40,000 staff to work for nothing to save the ailing airline. The decision comes after the airline posted a huge loss in the last quarter.
In a letter wrote to the company's employees, Chief executive Willie Walsh asked them to volunteer for up to four weeks' unpaid work.
Walsh and chief financial officer Keith Williams said last week they would work for free for the next month.The airline also plans to lay off about 4,000 staff in the coming months. The letter reads:
The trading environment is the toughest it has ever been, I don't think there is any evidence that it is improving.This is probably the most difficult period in the history or our industry. I am looking for every single part of the company to take part in some way in this cash-effective way of helping the company's survival plan. It really counts.
The company has set a deadline of June 24 for employees to volunteer for unpaid work.
Unions reacted angrily to the decision. A spokesman for BA's biggest union, Unite, said:
Willie Walsh can afford to work for nothing - our members can't. Most of us work because we have to, not because we have so much money that we can do it without needing a salary.
British Airways , Europe's third-biggest airline , posted annual operating losses of $362 million last month.
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