British Airways withdraws compensation offer to Hong Kong cabin crew it axed and promises revised deal, extended deadline
Latest move by airline to ‘include clarity on the numbers’ but no mention of when company will issue new agreement
British Airways withdrew a compensation offer to Hong Kong cabin crew it axed earlier this week and promised to revise the deal and extend its deadline after dozens protested against the mass lay-off.
Britain’s flagship carrier notified sacked staff through an email on Saturday that it would revise its previous offer of an ex gratia payment and extend the deadline for the attendants to accept the separation offer to next Friday.
“The content of the agreement will see very little change but will include clarity on the numbers,” the email stated.
But the message did not mention when the company would issue the new agreement.
This came after members of the BA Hong Kong International Cabin Crew Association and other unions staged a protest in front of the company’s counters at Hong Kong International Airport on Friday, demanding that it listen to their requests.
The association described the extended deadline as “still unreasonable”.
“Assuming the earliest they would be able to give the new offer is early next week, that still leaves us a few days to respond,” the association’s general secretary Carol Ng Man-yee said. “How do they expect us to be able to get a legal opinion in such a short time? It’s totally unreasonable.”
The airline dropped the bombshell on Wednesday that it was axing all 85 of its Hong Kong-based crew ahead of the closure of its base in the city next month.
The flight attendants were originally given until Sunday to sign an agreement stating they would accept the ex gratia payment. The association had earlier criticised the airline for not disclosing how the compensation had been calculated.
The group’s lawyers had also sent the company a legal letter requesting the deadline be extended by three weeks so that a better deal could be negotiated.
Ng criticised British Airways’ management for “avoiding” them. The association said it went to its offices in person to request a meeting on Saturday.
The airline, which has been flying to Hong Kong for 82 years, said it would close the cabin crew base at the end of next month. It operates two flights daily from Hong Kong to London Heathrow.