Keep Your Job? Work For Free.

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With unemployment on the rise, more and more workers are taking pay cuts in exchange for keeping their jobs. Some are even working for free.

In an effort to cut costs and show work-place solidarity, British Airways Chief Executive Willie Walsh is planning to work the entire month of July with no pay. There’s only one glitch in his plan for generating some positive public relations. He forgot to tell his wife.

Walsh says because he neglected to tell her about the plan to turn down his July paycheck, she wasn’t too happy when she first read about it in a London paper.

Walsh enjoys an annual salary of $1.2 million U-S dollars, and is hoping his lower salary encourages employees to also cut costs. This comes after 2,500 employees at the airline have already lost their jobs.

And British Airways is not the only carrier cutting back; most of the major international carriers have been forced to cut costs as the deep worldwide recession grounds demand for travel and air freight.
But that bad news for airlines means they are also drastically cutting ticket prices to get your business.

I just saved big bucks on a trip to Europe by simply asking which day had the cheaper flight. A standard round trip business class ticket was priced at $11,000 round trip. After working the phones and juggling my calendar, I paid about $3,000 round trip.

That $8,000 I saved made it a lot easier to pay for some great hotel rooms and fancy meals. So it does pay to ask. The airlines need your business.

(Brian Banmiller is a national Business Correspondent for CBS News Radio, free lance writer and public speaker. The former television business news anchor in San Francisco can be reached at brian@banmilleronbusiness.com .)