Employers Using Coronavirus as Cover For Sacking Employees

A week or so ago, I wrote a blog post over on my site Settlement Agreement Solicitor entitled “British Airways to Make up to 12,000 Workers Redundant”.

In Today’s The Times, they report that British Airways are “using coronavirus as a cover for sacking employees”.

The chief executive of the company that owns British Airways, Willie Walsh, has come under sustained attack at a hearing in the House of Commons, the Times reports. They say that MPs have implied that BA is using the coronavirus as cover to axe 12,000 jobs and change the terms and conditions of those employees who remain.

The ‘restructuring’ appears to have been calculated, the MPs say, because it was determined well before lockdown was even contemplated.

It’s a real shame, in my view. The Government schemes, such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which allows furloughing, were designed to avoid redundancies.

I have, however, sadly noticed a massive increase in employees being “made redundant” under the guise of Coronavirus where the reality is probably more that the company just wants rid of certain people.

I’ve also been contacted by an employee of BA who claims that they were dismissed for some non-reason just so the company could avoid a redundancy package. Indeed, this is behavior that I have seen other companies do as well, not just in the coronavirus environment.

Yes, Companies are sometimes evil.

Shock.

I’ve seen Companies instigate a company wide pay-cut of all staff, knowing that in 3-6 months time they will be making mass redundancies – but it saves on the redundancy payment calculation!

I’ve seen lots of people requiring Settlement Agreement Advice where they, and only they it would seem, are being made redundant due to Coronavirus. While sometimes this is genuine, when no one else in the team is being considered, then it does appear to be a sham redundancy process and potentially an unfair dismissal.

For a massive organisation like British Airways to be making 25% of its workforce redundant demonstrates the serious position the airline and travel industry is, that’s not in doubt. However, if the MPs are right in their implication, then they are not playing fair. Dismissing staff and blaming coronavirus, when that’s not the full picture, is deceptive and not on in my book.

What are your thoughts?

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