A two-minute video claiming that the airline has terminated its entire workforce from June 15 is going viral on social media. The video has been shared as a farewell message from BA staff, giving the impression that the airline is shutting operations.
On April 2, as demand for air travel collapsed in the backdrop of the coronavirus crisis, British Airways (BA) placed 30,000 of its 42,000 employees on furlough. Less than a month later, the UK airline, in a letter to its employees, said around 12,000 staff would be facing “redundancy”.
The decision triggered widespread condemnation, with employee unions, fliers, and even MPs asking BA to reconsider. Meanwhile, a two-minute video claiming that the airline has terminated its entire workforce from June 15 is going viral on social media. The video has been shared as a farewell message from BA staff, giving the impression that the airline is shutting operations.
We have found that the video was posted by a YouTube channel with a similar name to an employee union. BA did propose a job cut, but it has not been implemented yet. In fact, the airline has announced resumption of services as can be seen in this video.
To verify the claim, we checked BA’s official YouTube channel. We didn’t find any video on staff dismissal, or the airline winding up or even reducing services. Rather, BA has posted a video on resumption of services. The video, with the title “Looking forward to welcoming you back on board”, was uploaded on June 20.
Their Twitter account is also active and posting tweets on their service related updates.
Plans can change. If you make a new booking by 31 August for travel by 30 April 2021, you can change your date, destination or cancel for a voucher. Find out more at https://t.co/AFkXsCMjQI pic.twitter.com/9TlT5RU7vT
— British Airways (@British_Airways) June 30, 2020
We ran a reverse search on one of the key frames of the viral video and found that it was first uploaded on YouTube on June 13 by a little known channel called “Unite the Union Yout“.
The name of the YouTube channel is similar to an employee union called “Unite the Union”. This workers’ union is based in United Kingdom, and its official YouTube channel can be seen here. This YouTube channel does not carry the viral video.
Job cuts at BA
As per reports, BBC News had reported on April 1 that IAG-owned British Airways is expected to announce suspension of 36,000 employees.
The report said that to survive the Covid-19 crisis, the airline had reached a deal with Unite the Union that will include suspension of jobs for 80 per cent of the cabin crew, ground staff, engineers and those working at the head office. There will be no terminations though.
However, on April 28, BBC News reported that BA has proposed to axe 12,000 employees. This had led to some MPs calling the airline “a national disgrace”. But so far, there has been no report of the job cut proposal being implemented.
As confusion continues over the exact number of job cuts, latest reports suggest BA has clarified there is no definite number of actual redundancies and the figures are mere proposals.
In a statement, BA said, “We are acting now to protect as many jobs possible. We call on Unite and GMB to consult with us on our proposals as our pilot union, BALPA, is doing. Working together, we can protect more jobs as we prepare for a new future.”
Therefore, it is clear that British Airways did propose a job cut, but it has not been implemented yet. The video was posted on YouTube by a channel with a similar name as an employee union.