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The head of the trade union Unite has warned British Airways that it plans to move towards industrial action against the airline “with immediate effect”.

Unite and BA have been at loggerheads for several weeks.

In April, BA’s parent company warned that it could cut up to 12,000 jobs as it tried to cut costs in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Staff were warned that if agreement was not reached, they would be handed their notice and re-hired on new contracts.

For many long-serving staff, BA’s plan would involve significant pay cuts, as well as changes to terms and conditions.

Unite – which represents thousands of BA employees including cabin crew, engineers and maintenance staff – has accused the airline of operating a ‘fire and rehire policy’.

In a letter to BA’s chief executive Alex Cruz, seen by the BBC, Unite general secretary Len McCluskey accuses Mr Cruz of “arrogance” in his dealings with the union.

Mr McCluskey says: “You have now published a timetable to fire and rehire thousands of your workforce on 7 August.

“We will work every hour between now and then to convince you not to do so.

“You can take this letter as our commitment to do that. However, you can also take this as an intention to defend our members by moving towards industrial action with immediate effect”.

IAG, the owner of British Airways, said it was a matter for the airline. British Airways did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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