DEMONSTRATORS have turned out in force to support airline staff at risk of losing their jobs.

British Airways workers and union members protested at Goodwood Racecourse on Tuesday and outside Eastbourne town hall yesterday, calling for protection for their jobs.

The airline industry has been hit hard by the pandemic and many flights have ground to a halt.

But the campaigners said BA had been using the crisis to make “drastic and unnecessary permanent cuts”.

They claim the company intends to “fire its workforce and rehire those that survive on inferior contracts”.

BA is in consultation on plans to slash up to 12,000 jobs as profits decline amid the coronavirus crisis.

Campaigners want local MPs to sign a pledge calling for a Government review of British Airways’ control of UK landing slots.

Steve Gumbrill, from Unite The Union, said: “British Airways are using this terrible health pandemic to make drastic and unnecessary permanent cuts.

“BA is a wealthy company that can probably afford to ride out the crisis.

“Instead they have chosen to take taxpayers’ money whilst decimating their British workforce.”

A spokeswoman for BA said: “We are acting now to protect as many jobs possible.

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

“We call on Unite and GMB to work with us as our pilots’ union Balpa, is doing. Working together we can protect more jobs as we prepare for a new future.”