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Love Island star and former British Airways air hostess Amy Hart slams Rochester and Strood MP Kelly Tolhurst over aviation job losses

A Love Island star has slammed a government minister and Kent MP over suggestions British Airways job losses are a "private matter between company and employees".

Former BA stewardess Amy Hart branded the move by her ex-employer to cut 12,000 jobs as "opportunistic" and "greedy".

The 27-year-old former air hostess from Sussex quit her job with the airline to join the cast for the 2019 edition of the TV show.

But she remains a vocal supporter of her colleagues and has taken to Twitter to vent her frustration at comments made to Parliament by Rochester and Strood MP and Aviation Minister Kelly Tolhurst.

She posted: "I know you’re very busy but please do your research into the situation in aviation.

"It’s not ‘a private matter between company and employees', it’s opportunistic, greedy and should not be allowed.

"People will lose their homes and kids won’t be fed."

The former cabin manager told the BBC: "It's an all encompassing lifestyle and people have sacrificed so much over the years because they love the job.

"So the fact that they have been stabbed in the back in this way in such an uncertain time is really disgusting."

It comes after British Airways parent company, IAG, said it needed to put in place a "restructuring and redundancy programme" until demand for travel returns.

BA cabin crew said they felt betrayed and that they were being treated as "sacrificial lambs" over plans to cut jobs and introduce contractual changes such as lower wages for remaining staff.

Many say they are suffering mental health problems and fear they may lose their homes.

Yesterday the chairman of the House of Commons Transport Committee Huw Merriman accused BA of taking advantage of the crisis to slash terms and conditions.

British Airways has said it needs to put in place a "restructuring and redundancy programme" until demand for air travel returns
British Airways has said it needs to put in place a "restructuring and redundancy programme" until demand for air travel returns

He told the House: "It is ethically outrageous that our national flag carrier is doing this at a time when the nation is at its weakest and when we expect the country to do its bit."

The airline has rebutted this assumption, instead arguing it is taking action now to protect as many jobs as possible in the future.

Mr Merriman then urged the government to request an urgent review into reallocating lucrative landing slots at airports and to change the job retentions scheme to stop employers exploiting it to place employees on redundancy notice.

But Ms Tolhurst said the government was "legally prevented from intervening" in slots allocation.

"However, we want airport landing and take-off slots to be used as effectively as possible," she added as she declared it was a point she would be looking into further.

She expressed sympathy towards those workers threatened with redundancy, adding: "I understand the impact that any reduction in jobs on stress will have.

Aviation Minister Kelly Tolhurst says she has been talkign with airlines and airports to find ways to prevent job losses Photo: Parliament TV
Aviation Minister Kelly Tolhurst says she has been talkign with airlines and airports to find ways to prevent job losses Photo: Parliament TV

"I certainly would expect employers not to use the pandemic as a chance to slash terms and conditions as I think most people would."

She went on: "I think terms and conditions are usually a matter for employees and employers but employees obviously have recourse to a number of options for support in cases this is happening."

The Aviation Minister added she would expect employers to treat their workers with the "social responsibility" you would expect them to have.

"I will be doing everything I can in my power to ensure that is understood by those organisations."

The formerly government-owned airline said it called on Unite and GHM to consult with it on proposals and that its pilot union, BALPA, was doing the same.

In a statement BA said: "We are acting now to protect as many jobs as possible.

"The airline industry is facing the deepest structural change in its history, as well as facing a severely weakened global economy.

"Working together we can protect more jobs as we prepare for a new future."

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