US Airways Pilots Lend Support To British Airways’ Cabin Crew Strike <


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US Airways Pilots Lend Support To British Airways’ Cabin Crew Strike

By Mike Mitchell

March 22, 2010 - The US Airline Pilots Association (USAPA), representing the pilots of US Airways, announced support for British Airways’ cabin crews’ planned three-day strike that commence over the weekend. The British Airways crews, represented by Unite, the largest union in Britain, have announced plans to strike after negotiations with British Airways fell apart again last week. 

British Airways has proposed to significantly change cabin crews’ contractual terms and conditions, cut jobs, implement a two-year wage freeze and introduce a second-tier workforce with lower pay and working conditions. In response, Len McCluskey, Unite’s assistant general secretary, stated that, “… BA cabin crew has not been blind to the economic realities of the airline’s position. They offered the company a package of savings which would have more than met their requirements - an extraordinary £60m worth of concessions.” British Airways has rejected this offer.

In its Workplace Reporter newsletter, Unite said, “the new contractual changes are an attempt to force staff to pay the price for management failings with the company wringing more and more out of fewer and fewer staff who will be paid less. Working hours will be extended, crew levels will be slashed, career opportunities will disappear and new starters will be brought in on bargain basement wages.” 

US Airways pilots know exactly how it feels to pay the price for management failings, working for a management group more interested in rewarding sub-par performance at the top, rather than recognizing dedicated work by those on the line,” said USAPA President Mike Cleary. “We therefore empathize with the Unite members who are fighting this same issue at British Airways.” 

According to British newspaper The Guardian, British Airways is training inexperienced staff to act as cabin crew within three weeks and has stated that this “temporary crew will give passengers a ’simple’ in-flight experience.” 

“Clearly, if by BA’s own admission passengers will receive sub-standard service, it means the strike breakers they are rushing through training are not receiving the rigorous training the traveling public expects professional cabin crews to receive,” added Cleary.


The Teamsters have also leant their support to the British Airways cabin crews. In a statement, Teamsters officials stated, “We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters at Unite who are fighting for a fair contract at British Airways. The Teamsters are an active member of the International Transport Workers Federation. ITF affiliates around the world are mobilizing to support British Airways workers in their fight for passenger safety and worker respect.” 

US Airways pilots are in complete agreement that the time is now to draw a line in the sand with regard to passenger safety and worker respect,” said Cleary. “For too long the world’s carriers have participated in a race to the bottom, demanding longer days and contract concessions from already-strained crews, while they continue to find the money for obscene management bonuses. The public is finally becoming aware of the direct relationship between overworked crews and safety.” 

Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., the US Airline Pilots Association (USAPA) represents more than 5,000 US Airways pilots in five domiciles across the United States.  

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