Richard Branson slammed for forcing Virgin Atlantic staff to take unpaid leave amid coronavirus crisis

A Tory MP has warned that the Virgin Atlantic boss must pay his employees during a proposed break over coronavirus or face being judged for his actions


                            Richard Branson slammed for forcing Virgin Atlantic staff to take unpaid leave amid coronavirus crisis
(Getty Images)
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Business magnate Richard Branson has come under fire after forcing his airline staff to take unpaid leaves amid the coronavirus crisis. Several people including a Tory MP have called out the Virgin Atlantic boss for neglecting his employees during a proposed break.
 
It has been reported that thousands of employees of Virgin Atlantic have been asked to take eight weeks’ unpaid leave in the next three months to help the airline cope with the impact COVID-19 has had on the aviation industry. Branson’s airline is one of many affected by the pandemic as people are reluctant to fly due to the virus which has infected more than 200,000 people worldwide.
 
However, conservation MP Richard Fuller has slammed Branson for not paying his staff as he claimed the 69-year-old could earn $11.42 million (£9.9 million) from 2% interest on his $4.38 billion (£3.8 billion) net worth — leaving him with plenty to cover every employees’ unpaid leave.

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“When it comes to looking at the protection of your workers, the time is now,” Fuller, MP for North East Bedfordshire, told parliament.
 
He continued: “To the point of leaders not doing the right thing I think the experience of Virgin Airlines has been raised, that the owner or partial owner of Virgin Airlines has suggested that they should take eight weeks of unpaid leave. And I decided to look and see how much would that cost."
 
“Well, eight weeks at the $108.46 (£94) statutory sick pay would cost $ 869.9 (£754) per employee. There are 8,571 employees in Virgin Airlines. So if all of them took eight weeks’ unpaid leave that would be a cost of $7.38 million (£6.4 million). Sir Richard Branson’s net worth is $4.38 billion (£3.8 billion) dollars. If he’s able to get 2% interest on that money for eight weeks, he will earn the equivalent of $11.42 million (£9.9 million).”
 
“So I say, Sir Richard Branson, give up your interest on your wealth for eight weeks and pay your employees yourself their unpaid leave. Big or small — in a small village, a leader of a church or a leader of a large business — when it comes to looking at the protection of your workers, the time is now, and we will judge you all by your actions,” Fuller added.
 
Labour MP Angela Rayner also slammed the British investor on Twitter, saying, “Richard, flog your private island and pay your staff, we are in unprecedented times here. Now is the time your staff need support after making mountains of cash for the company."
 
Many people joined Rayer on Twitter and called out Branson with one person tweeting: “Couldn't he cancel his space fleet ego project?" Whereas another person said, “He could probably afford to pay every one of them out of his personal account and not notice that any money had gone."

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Another said he will boycott the brand as he tweeted: “The utter twattery of the man knows no bounds. I currently have Virgin TV but not for much longer."