High Wycombe residents are calling on MP Steve Baker to intervene over British Airways' proposed job cuts - as workers admit they have been unable to sleep worrying about how they will pay their bills.

Union leaders at Unite have accused British Airways (BA) of using the current health crisis as an opportunity to fire and rehire most of its workforce in order to cut jobs, pay and conditions.

BA has been locked in a bitter dispute with the unions over their plans for 12,000 job cuts.

With its close proximity to Heathrow Airport, where the airline controls more than half the landing slots, many BA workers living in the Wycombe constituency - and affected workers have urged Mr Baker to get involved.

A protest, held in Desborough Road on Thursday (July 2), saw workers accuse BA of betraying them, and told how the threat of job losses and pay cuts has left them unable to sleep.

One worker said: "If BA is gets away with what they are planning, after over 30 years of loyal service I will be earning the same as I did when I was 19 years old."

Another added: "I have been at my wits' end since this was first announced - I can’t sleep, all I can think about is how will I pay the bills?"

Cllr Khalil Ahmed also showed solidarity with workers at the demonstration, branding the situation "an utter disgrace".

He said: "I think that BA need to be ashamed of themselves and I think they need to rise up and make sure there is job security and make sure these women are paid what they are due.

"Lots of workers are going to be affected by the massive cuts that BA plan on undertaking."

Protesters called on Mr Baker to sign their pledge, which calls on the Prime Minister to ensure the government will amend slot regulations if BA "continues to attack its own workforce".

They also want the government, from 2021, to have the power to set additional local criteria that "incentivise internal investment, social responsibility and connectivity in return for slot allocation".

Mr Baker was invited to join the protesters on Thursday but was unable to because he was voting in parliament at the time.

A spokesman for Mr Baker told the Bucks Free Press: "Steve knows there are many people employed by BA who live in the constituency, and is aware just how much this affecting them.

"He sympathises with everyone who is facing redundancy and the devastating impact this will have on their family.

"Steve Baker was one of the MPs backing a call by Huw Merriman MP for a backbench debate on aviation redundancies.

"Rob Butler, Dame Cheryl Gillan, and Greg Smith were also signatories; Joy Morrissey is not a backbench MP and was not eligible to sign.

"Throughout the crisis, both the Department for Transport and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have been in open dialogue with BA both at ministerial and official levels."

Unite executive officer Sharon Graham said BA is essentially creating a "new and unrecognisable airline".

She said: "Friends and neighbours have been showing their support for BA staff and are calling on Steve Baker to act.

"British Airways' workers face an unprecedented attack on their jobs, pay and conditions in the middle of the worst health crisis in a century.

"There should be consequences to BA’s actions.

"The company is essentially creating a new and unrecognisable airline – it should not automatically have the legacy slots.

"BA controls over half the landing slots at Heathrow.

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

A BA spokesman told the PA agency: "We are acting now to protect as many jobs as 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 the GMB to consult with us on our proposals as our pilot union, Balpa, is doing.

"Working together we can protect more jobs as we prepare for a new future."

The airline said its proposals have been put forward with a view to consultation, adding that no decisions have been taken in regards to actual redundancies.

BA added it was in a period of consultation, so no final decisions have been made.