BELEAGUERED British Airways staff facing the axe have been given until tomorrow to decide whether to take redundancy or accept lower wages and poorer terms and conditions.

Those who do not volunteer and then refuse a role under the new terms and conditions have been warned they may no longer be given a redundancy payment.

Union leaders have hit out at the ultimatum, saying staff cannot make an informed decision without knowing what they will be offered and are being forced into voluntary redundancy.BA have been slammed as one of the worst examples of a company using the coronavirus crisis to slash staff costs and erode workers’ conditions.

The UK’s flagship airline announced in May that it is to cut 12,000 jobs.

The blow followed allegations, revealed in the Sunday National, that crews who continued to fly during the pandemic were being put at risk through the lack of PPE and inadequate hygiene aboard planes.

Despite widespread outrage over the UK’s flagship airline’s “cruel” move in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, management is pressing ahead with the draconian plans to cut the workforce and save costs.

A new letter sent to staff states that tomorrow is the “final opportunity to request voluntary redundancy”.

“This is a major blue-chip British company, trying to dismiss their entire workforce either permanently or ‘fire and rehire’ the remainder. Such a brutal act is unprecedented in British industry,” said a Unite spokesperson.

“Quite simply, across BA they plan to allocate every staff member a number of points based on the criteria that they alone have set. They will then draw a line on that list in each department. Those above it are retained, those below will be dismissed.”

He said it was a “brutal, twisted X Factor parody” which indicated BA simply did not care about the impact the decision will have on people.

READ MORE: British Airways named ‘national disgrace’ over job axe plan

The criteria selected by BA can only now be challenged in court.

“We do not want, agree or accept the legitimacy of making even one person compulsory redundant,” said the Unite spokesperson. “BA have decided this course of action, but our objection alone does not mean they will not do so and the legitimacy of that action again now moves to the courts via claims for unfair dismissal.”

He added that no matter how “appalling” the BA policy was and no matter how many objections had been made by the unions, the public and in Parliament, the company planned to carry on regardless of the impact on their staff and even the damage to their own brand.

The union is now hoping to reduce the number of staff selected for redundancy although leaders have warned that not every job may be saved. Those selected are expected to be told next Friday.

“Although we have not been unable to alter the selection process for redundancy, we have been able to convince BA to consider a range of options that will save a significant number of jobs, if enacted, this means that the line drawn on the list moves by BA and considerably less people will be made redundant,” said the union spokesperson. “This will become much clearer next week as negotiations continue and numbers become finalised.”

The influential Commons Transport Select Committee branded BA “a national disgrace” over its actions.

It accused BA of a “calculated attempt to take advantage” of the coronavirus crisis and was criticised for a “fire and rehire” approach by issuing redundancy notices to the majority of its 42,000 workers with the intention of retaining those that remain on lower wages and poorer conditions.