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British Airways Denies Spying on Union & Paying $1.5M in ‘Hush Money’

British Airways is denying reports that it paid $1.5 million in “hush money” to bury a union dispute in 2011.

Did British Airways pay out $1.5 million in claims to keep staff quiet over a union dispute? The Independent reports an investigation yielded proof that the airline paid claims to unionized employees in order to bury reports of espionage during a period of labor unrest in 2011.

According to the report, British Airways allegedly utilized computer systems to spy on as many as 10 Unite leaders amidst workers’ threats to strike. The report alleges that the airline hired private investigators, many of who were previously employed by Scotland Yard, to spy on the union members’ communications. The Independent claim an anonymous source inside the airline provided reporters with information and documents detailing the investigation.

When the union officials found out that they were being spied on, the union allegedly hired an attorney to take action against the airline. In an out-of-court settlement, The Independent reports British Airways paid $1.5 million in claims to silence the union. When reporters asked the union for more information about the case, officials cited a confidentiality clause and declined to comment.

According to the report, British Airways stood firm behind their right to monitor communications by employees while using company-owned computers and mobile phones. Furthermore, airline representatives have denied allegations raised in the report.

In a statement to MailOnline, a British Airways representative said:

We can state categorically that we have never illegally accessed any telephones or emails of Unite representatives. It follows that we made no payment to Unite in relation to any such activity.

[Photo: Unite the Union Facebook]

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