Thursday, 29 June 2017

BA Keep Passengers in the Dark Over Strike Plans

With a 16-day cabin-crew strike due to start in just over two days, British Airways refuses to make any public announcement about its contingency plans for 10 day strike by cabin crew at Heathrow.

Cabin Crew working for British Airways 'Mixed Fleet' operation are walking out for the latest and longest work stoppage since their pay dispute began. The members of the Unite union will strike from 1 to 16 July.

A BA spokesperson said “The vast majority of flights to and from London Heathrow will operate as normal.”  However there is no word on the contingency plans, which might include deploying Qatar Airways planes, which are currently idle due to the strife and dispute in that region.

BA have already started cancelling flights operated by the 'Mixed Fleet' team,  whilst no evidence has been found of cancellation on routes normally crewed by Eurofleet or Worldwide.   BA says: “All British Airways customers will be able to fly to their destinations.”   Yet they wont say what the time frame for those passengers effected to arrive at their final destination.  Yet according to The Independent some passengers who had their flights cancelled have been rebooked for over 24 hours later.

The dispute involves cabin crew who have joined the airline since 2010, with Unite claiming they earn less than other staff.  The union said a recent survey revealed almost half of the new cabin crew had taken on a second job to make ends meet, with some saying they had to sleep in their cars between shifts because they could not afford the petrol to drive home.

Earnings were advertised between £21,00 and £25,000 per year.

But Unite say in reality it starts at just over £12,00 plus £3 an hour.

They claim the airline refused to extend the mandate of the strike vote to allow for talks to resolve an ongoing dispute over “poverty pay” to continue.   Staff were further provoked by the news Virgin cabin are set for a 6.65 per cent pay bump while flight service managers and cabin service supervisors get a 4.45 per cent rise back-dated to October.

Commenting, Unite national officer Oliver Richardson said: “British Airways needs to drop its confrontational stance which is causing so much anger and leading to plummeting morale among its mixed cabin crew.

“With British Airways’ parent company forecasting massive annual profits of around £2.3 billion, it is clear the airline can afford to recognise the hard work of its mixed fleet cabin crew by paying a proper decent wage.

“Rather than trying to bully workers and focusing its resources on leasing aircraft to cover striking cabin crew, British Airways should focus its energies on trying to resolve our members’ legitimate concerns over poverty pay.