EIGHT HUNDRED British Airways (BA) staff will work for nothing next month, after the struggling airline convinced 7,000 employees, or 17 per cent of its workforce, to take a pay cut.<br /><br />Chief executive Willie Walsh, who earns &pound;735,000 a year, said the staff would save the airline around &pound;10m.<br /><br />Walsh has already agreed to work for free in July, saving the company &pound;60,000.<br /><br />&ldquo;This response clearly shows the significant difference individuals can make,&rdquo; he said, adding that staff will be able to volunteer for the programme later in the year too.<br /><br />About 4,000 workers will take unpaid leave, while 1,400 will work part-time and 800 full-time for free for one to four weeks.<br /><br />Passenger numbers at the airline for the year to 31 March fell by 4.3 per cent.<br /><br />But the GMB union hit out at BA for putting out a statement on pay cuts while it was still in separate talks with the union. &ldquo;I find it disgusting that the company can make the announcement today,&rdquo; Mick Rix, of GMB said yesterday.<br /><br />&ldquo;We are locked into hard negotiations on making significant financial savings but BA seems only interested in making headlines rather than reaching an acceptable deal.&rdquo;<br /><br />The Unite union slammed the plans saying &ldquo;Mr Walsh can afford to work for free but our members cannot.&rdquo;<br /><br />Meanwhile, the carrier agreed a tentative pay-cut deal with pilots&rsquo; union Balpa yesterday in return for shares in the business.<br /><br />Under the plans, pilots will see a 2.61 per cent pay cut &ndash; equal to around &pound;2,000 &ndash; and will slash their flying time by 20 per cent. Up to 78 pilots of BA&rsquo;s 3,200 will lose their jobs as part of the agreement. <br /><br />BA is still seeking to axe 4,000 jobs to save money. It wants 2,000 voluntary redundancies among the 14,000 cabin crew.