Human Resources News & Insights

British Airways to staff: ‘Who wants to work for free?’

While many companies have employed a variety of survival strategies, British Airways took cost control to an entirely new level with its latest move — asking employees to work for nothing.

The inspiration for this revolutionary strategy: British Airways suffered its greatest full-year loss since being privatized back in 1987 — a loss of $595 million in U.S. dollars.

Employees are being urged to sign up for unpaid leave or unpaid work to help the company save cash and fight for its survival.

Despite BA CEO Willie Walsh’s magnanimous offer to “lead by example” and forgo his own monthly paycheck in July ($100K), the reception to BA’s proposal hasn’t been all too warm.

The union that represents thousands of BA ground and cabin workers, UNITE, said that even though Mr. Walsh could get by after working an entire month for free, its members didn’t have the same luxury.

We’ll keep you posted on the success of British Airways’ strategy.

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  • Mel

    No mention of at least offering free travel as payment or some trade off. It reminds me of the $1 CEO’s. If they can do why not everyone? I will be curious to see how long the carrier lasts.

  • RandiG

    Perhaps if their CEO hadn’t been earning over a million dollars a year, they wouldn’t be so far in the hole.

  • Private Party

    Right On! RandiG, my point exactly. When you make 1.2 million dollars a year for who knows for how long, it’s easy to give up a measly 100 grand. People who make their 40 to 50 thousand a year, can’t give up 1000 dollars or else their kids won’t play extracurricular activities or their pets won’t eat.


    @Mel I thought they received free travel anyway?