Unite Votes British Airways Cabin Crew To Go On Strike <


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Unite Votes British Airways Cabin Crew To Go On Strike

By Daniel Baxter

March 14, 2010 - The British Airways’ Flight Attendants association, Unite has called on a strike for March 20, 21 and 22 and further on March 27, 28, 29 and 30. Unite states their members will not strike over the Easter period. However, further strike actions will take place after April 14th unless British Airways and Unite can come to an agreement. 

“Regrettably, management turned down a remarkable offer from the union which would have given the company everything it said it wanted while also meeting our members’ concerns….. “These have been very difficult negotiations – unnecessarily so, in my view.  I represent a workforce which has repeatedly made it clear that it is proud of its company and prepared to make extraordinary sacrifices to see it succeed. The customers they care for have always been at the forefront of their concerns. 

“We have been faced with a management which at times has almost seemed to want a dispute.  Every time talks appeared to make progress, the chief executive or another senior manager has popped up making public statements designed to inflame the situation. This has led to the view that BA management’s real agenda is destroying trade unionism among its employees...The company contests our calculations, but quibbles over the precise costing of our concessions pale into insignificance compared to the losses that BA will sustain in the event of an industrial dispute”. Said Len McCluskey spokes person for Unite.

British Airways has reported they are extremely disappointed that Unite had announced plans for massive disruption for hundreds of thousands of British Airways customers in the run-up to the Easter holidays.

“Unite’s action has no shred of justification. British Airways’ crews are rightly renowned for their professionalism and skills. Our entire package for crew recognizes that and is reasonable and fair…… To date all proposals put forward by Unite fall significantly short of saving £60m a year....British Airways is facing two years of record financial losses. Unlike other businesses, we have avoided compulsory redundancies and made changes designed to secure a long-term future for our company and our staff. Cabin crew face no pay cut or reduction in terms and conditions – and remain the best rewarded in the UK airline industry.


“For months, Unite has been claiming that we breached individual crew members’ contracts by making minor changes to onboard crew numbers on flights from Heathrow. We have always said this claim was false. Last month, the High Court ruled that the changes were valid and reasonable. The changes save us more than £60m a year. We have made clear we would consider refinements of the changes, provided any additional cost was offset by other adjustments in the cabin crew budget.

Should a strike take place, we will do everything we can to protect our customers’ travel plans as far as possible. We plan to operate all British Airways’ flights from London City airport, including long-haul services to New York. From Gatwick, we plan to operate all long-haul services and about 50 per cent of short-haul. From Heathrow, we plan to operate a substantial part of our long-haul and short-haul schedule. We are also in the process of obtaining seats on flights operated by other carriers to enable thousands of customers to fly to their chosen destinations. Said British Airways CEO, Willie Walsh

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