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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Le travail gratuit comme solution à la crise

by Damien Roustel

Work for free as a solution to the crisis

Translated Saturday 20 June 2009, by Karen Singleton

They dare to do it!

To balance the books at British Airways (BA), the directors have decided to forego their salary for July. The chief executive Willie Walsh (on £735 000 a year, 862 473 euros) and his chief financial officer Keith Williams will work for free next month.

The little problem is that they have also asked other employees to follow their example. Obviously, the effort, even the sacrifice is not the same.

"A number of you would like to help the company. I hope that every part of the company will contribute in a certain way to this financial effort to help the company’s survival plan. It really counts”, Willie Walsh explained straight-faced.

Baptised the Business Response Scheme, this plan will enable volunteers to take between a week to a month of unpaid leave or unpaid work. According to the company, 1000 employees have agreed to participate in this unusual rescue plan.

The 3rd largest airline company in Europe, British Airways has reported an annual loss of 260 million euros. In addition, BA envisage further compulsory redundancies to add to the suppression of 2 500 posts last March. BA is currently negotiating a reduction of pilot’s salaries. Perhaps it wouldn’t be too bold a question to ask the directors also to set this example?

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