Video: British Airways asks employees to work for free

updated 6/17/2009 4:34:25 PM ET 2009-06-17T20:34:25

British Airways on Tuesday urged its staff to work for nothing in an effort to save the company money.

British Airways PLC is struggling to come up with ways to save cash after reporting its biggest full-year loss since the former national airline was privatized in 1987.

BA chief Willie Walsh has said he would not draw a salary for the month of July, and urged other employees to work for blocks of time without being paid.

"I am looking for every single part of the company to take part in some way in this cash-effective way of helping the company's survival plan. It really counts," Walsh said in a company publication.

BA said the option meant employees would effectively volunteer to take a cut in base pay, with the lost income spread out over several months. The company had said last month it would ask employees to consider working without pay. Video: British Airways needs free labor to keep flying

The UNITE union, which represents thousands of BA ground and cabin crew, gave the proposal a chilly reception. The union said that while Walsh might be able to afford working a month for free, its members could not.

BA said last month that it had lost 375 million pounds ($595 million) in the year ending March 31, compared with a profit of 712 million pounds in the previous year. That is its worst result in more than two decades of business, the previous low point being a 200 million pounds loss in 2001-2002.

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