BMI sale: GMB in 'fight' to minimise job cuts

BMI and BA planes at Heathrow BMI's East Midlands headquarters could see up 600 jobs cut, says union

A union representing BMI members at its Castle Donington head office in the East Midlands has said it will fight to minimise job losses.

British Airways said its deal to buy BMI for £172.5m could see about 400 jobs axed in the area.

The GMB union said Thursday had been a "black day" for its members. It said it was pushing for as many staff as possible to be redeployed.

Consultations between BA and unions to integrate the airlines have begun.

About 2,700 people work for BMI across the UK. BA owner IAG said the takeover of the airline from Lufthansa, which was losing £3m a week, could result in the loss of up to 1,200 of these jobs.

Colin Wyatt, regional organiser for the GMB in Leicestershire, said up to half of the planned BMI redundancies could be made at Donington Hall, the East Midlands headquarters, but his priority was to keep them to a minimum.

"I've been speaking to the HR department at Donington Hall and we are setting up meetings so we can get a fight started for our members and try to mitigate job losses," he said.

"The options are redeployment or working with local companies to see if we can move our skilled workers to other environments.

"We will try and get the best out of it, as it is a very black day."

However BA director Peter Simpson said the number of job losses at Donington Hall would be closer to 400.

'Devastating blow'

"Part of the consultation is to look at ways with the unions and staff representatives to secure as many of these jobs going forward as possible," he said.

"We're securing 1,500 jobs elsewhere within the organisation that otherwise would not have been there, without British Airways all of the jobs would have been lost.

"We will work hard with regard to potential vacancies at British Airways, we're already working with industry partners to see what other engineering and other opportunities might be available locally."

Mr Wyatt said the proposed redundancies would have a "devastating blow" on the Leicestershire village.

"You feel for places like Castle Donington, a very small community, which depends on Donington Hall and East Midlands Airport and it will have a knock-on effect on the local environment," he said.

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