Unite Reported British Airways Is Harassing Its Flight Attendants <


Bookmark and Share


Unite Reported British Airways Is Harassing Its Flight Attendants

By Daniel Guevarra

March 21, 2010 - Day two of British Airways Cabin Crew strike. Unite the union representing British Airways Flight Attendants has published a 'dossier of disgrace' exposing bullying and harassment that is taking place against union members and representatives under the management of Willie Walsh. 

British Airways has suspended or disciplined 38 crew members. One crew member on bed rest, in danger of losing her baby, was suspended by letter. Another crew member was unable to attend a disciplinary hearing because she was caring for a seriously ill child was instructed to bring the child with her. Management did not go through the normal disciplinary process. In all cases, the decision to suspend had already been taken.  

Some crew members are on anti-depressants with one female crew member being admitted to an urgent treatment centre because of the deterioration of her mental health. 

British Airways has suspended crew members including trade union representatives for:

• Receiving and forwarding e-mails from their private accounts • Discussions on union member only forums • Holding private conversations • Making a joke • Expressing dismay regarding a graffiti board set up by BA management where staff were encouraged to scribble words of support for the company, on which was written "cabin crew scum." 

Unite, Assistant General Secretary, Len McCluskey, said: "Cabin crew under the management of Willie Walsh have been victims of a disgraceful witch-hunt. The bullying and harassment set out in our dossier shows the lengths BA will go to gag and intimidate cabin crew and destroy trade unionism." 

Unite is appalled by the manner in which staff were told of their suspension - some by email, some were called on their emergency contacts. Some were met by managers on landing and accompanied from the aircraft. Others were marched out of briefings or met by managers when they arrived for work. One pregnant crew member on bed rest in danger of losing her baby was suspended by letter as was another crew member who was recovering from surgery. 


All of the staff were suspended on allegations of bullying and harassment, some also had charges of contravening data protection leveled at them. All had their IDs taken from them and were accompanied from the premises. The frequency and speed with which these disciplinaries have been conducted has been unprecedented, with crew being contacted over a dozen times in a single day. 

There are many more examples of aggressive management style of BA management. For instance union reps responsible for the union crew forum website have been contacted by management demanding that they provide them with the names of crew writing under pseudonyms. A motorcycle courier was sent to the home of the union’s branch secretary at 9pm with a 45 page legal document demanding he provide BA with the names of 32 crew writing under pseudonyms on the union forum website. 

Several of the suspended cabin crew have been left extremely unwell as a result of their treatment by management, a number of staff have been medically signed off with stress and depression. One female crew member has been admitted to an urgent treatment centre because of the deterioration of her mental health. One is under the care of a psychiatrist. Several staff have letters from their GPs clearly stating that they are unable to attend a meeting with the company and in some cases should not be contacted at all. 

In every case British Airways Health Services occupational therapists have overridden the GPs advice. Despite crew being highly distressed and in some cases hysterical on the telephone, BA has passed every single one fit to attend hearings.  

“British Airways’ conduct raises serious questions. The airline has a clear policy on bullying and harassment but when dealing with its own staff has completely ignored its own policy”.
 ©AvStop Online Magazine                                                                 Contact Us                                                  Return To News                                          Bookmark and Share


AvStop Aviation News and Resource Online Magazine

Grab this Headline Animator