The BBC is reporting that British Airways has asked its staff to volunteer for between one week and one month of unpaid vacation or work. British Airways CEO Willie Walsh has already given up his salary for July, which will cost him roughly $100,000. Walsh called the request part of a “fight for survival.”
The program is voluntary, and given the state of the economy and British Airways’ business (it lost over $650 million last year) it’s not exactly unreasonable for the airline to appeal to its workforce for sacrifice. After all, if the airline goes out of business, the workforce will suffer. But there’s something about the “work for free” aspect that, unsurprisingly, isn’t sitting well with some British Airways employees.
One baggage handler told the BBC, “It’s a big no. A very big no. Everyone is up in arms. We’re not taking it. I’d love to take a month’s unpaid leave but I can’t afford to do that.” Some unions are expected to reject the request as well.
Readers, let me ask you: If your company was struggling, would you take unpaid leave or work for free to help save it? Leave a comment below and let me know.