Protesters have called on their local MPs to take action over proposed British Airways job cuts.

Residents and campaigners, in Darlington for a second time, gathered outside Darlington Town Hall today to protest BA’s plans to axe up to 12,000 jobs and re-hire those that survive on new contracts.

Protestors were asking for the support of local MP Peter Gibson to sign a pledge which calls for a Government review of BAs’ control UK landing slots, of which the company controls over half the landing slots at Heathrow Airport.

The ‘fire and rehire’ project comes at the same time as British Airways parent company, IAG is in the process of buying Spanish Airline, Air Europa, which is valued at over 1 billion euros.

Unite executive officer Sharon Graham said: “British Airways’ workers face an unprecedented attack on their jobs, pay and conditions in the middle of the worst health crisis in a century.

“It is simply wrong for BA to have privileged access to landing slots while its workforce are being sacrificed for shareholder profits.”

MP for Darlington, Peter Gibson, at first refused to sign the pledge but has since put pen to paper and backed the call for a reduction in slots.

“I was reluctant, as by policy I don’t put my name to pledges and I believed reducing BA’s slots in retaliation for the redundancies would not achieve much for workers,” Mr Gibson said.

“However, after meeting with local BA staff, I understood that this was the one thing left in their negotiation armoury and so I signed the pledge.

“BA last week reduced their workforce by a third, so why should they still retain over half of the slots at Heathrow?

“Logic dictates that if the airline is smaller then it needs less slots. It is not right to use this crisis to shift these slots to their lower cost subsidiaries who do not fly our flag.”

Similar protests are occurring across the country, with campaigners also calling on the backing on Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, Simon Clarke, and MP for Redcar Jacob Young - neither of whom have signed the pledge.

Matt Vickers, Conservative for Stockton South has signed.

Mr Young said he did not sign pledges, including this one, but as a previous Unite the Union member he was in support of BA workers and had written to the Transport Secretary and BA Chief Executive, Willie Walsh, about the proposed changes.

In his email to the Transport Secretary he writes: “British Airways is our national airline and enjoys significant privileges with regards to landing slots.

“In the event that BA chooses to continue with its reported plans to make 12,000 workers redundant, it seems reasonable that on a reduced workforce and staff operating on cheaper terms, The Civil Aviation Authority should review the way these landing slots are currently being allocated.”