British Airways has warned staff that it is facing “serious” problems over wage costs as the furlough scheme is set to end in September.
Officially known as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, furlough is already winding down, with the current level of government contribution at 60 per cent for hours not working, capped at £1,875.
The wage costs faced by BA are set to “steeply increase” come September, as the company, like many others, faces a choice between keeping staff on and bearing higher costs, or making redundancies.
In a note to staff, the airline made it clear that its flight schedule and staff costs do not line up in their current form.
Promisingly, they believed this would be a temporary problem, but also a “serious one which we need to manage”.
This comes after BA put thousands of staff back on furlough in June as a result of delays to the restart of international travel.
The airline had bought back many members of staff ahead of the easing restrictions on 17 May, and in their recent note to staff, they expressed frustration at the ongoing uncertainty, saying:
We hoped that our industry would be back on its feet this year, and that the journey to pre-pandemic levels of flying would be well under way.
But the cautious approach of governments to the easing of global travel restrictions has undermined customer confidence, and recovery remains far behind where we need it to be.
BA has signalled that a flexible approach to working is perhaps the only way forward for the company, much like many other organisations who have stated that a return to traditional working methods is not feasible.
Commenting on the potential disruption that furlough ending could cause, they said:
This means we’re going to have to be as flexible as possible when it comes to the way we work, to help mitigate the situation over the coming months.
Megan McElroy is a second year English Literature student at the University of Warwick. As Editorial Intern for HRreview, her interests include employment law and public policy. In relation to her degree, her favourite areas of study include Small Press Publishing and political poetry.