Protest banners were unfurled across Maidenhead as a day of action was organised against British Airways' treatment of its staff.

The airline has been subject to intense criticism in recent weeks.

MPs sitting on the Commons Transport Select Committee last month accused it of a 'calculated attempt to take advantage' of the lockdown crisis by planning to cut up to 12,000 jobs and downgrading the terms and conditions of the bulk of its remaining employees.

Willie Walsh, chief executive of International Airlines Group which owns British Airways hit back in a letter to MPs saying British Airways was in full compliance with the law. He said the airline was mired in the deepest crisis the company has ever faced and fighting for its survival.

Maidenhead's day of action saw banners unfurled saying 'British Airways, stop betraying Britain' on key sites including Maidenhead Bridge, the town's prestigious football ground and at the rowing club.

Unite union executive officer Sharon Graham said friends and neighbours across Maidenhead were supporting BA staff and calling on the town's MP Theresa May to act. She 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.

She said: "There should be consequences to BA’s actions. The company is essentially creating a new and unrecognisable airline. 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."

But a statement from British Airways said: “We are acting now to protect as many jobs 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 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.”