Earlier today Unite union members employed by British Airways’ so called mixed fleet (post 2010 employees) have announced a two week ( although its from July 1st to July16th ie 16 days) strike, after the airline refused ( the Union claims) to accept the union’s final compromise position on outstanding issues relating to sanctioning of striking cabin crew following previous bouts of industrial action, writes Aviation Expert, Julian Bray.
In a clear hardening of their negotiating position, Unite said it would ‘vigorously’ pursue legal action against British Airways to the ‘highest court in the land’ on behalf of 1,400 cabin crew, who they claim were sanctioned for taking strike action in a long running pay dispute.
The actual strike timetable has been published with union members labour being withdrawn from 00:01 Saturday 1 July to 23:59 Sunday 16 July 2017.
The Unite Union says British Airways has 'a blacklist' designed to levy sanctions on striking cabin crew. Sanctions have in the past included mixed fleet BA cabin crew seeing bonus payments ( running into hundreds of pounds) withdrawn and the scrapping of staff travel concessions.
Last week Unite say they suspended a planned four-day strike by British Airways’ mixed fleet cabin crew, (due to start today), in an attempt to resolve the dispute through fresh negotiations.
Talks at the conciliation service ACAS earlier this week, saw Unite Union claiming ‘deep frustration’ over British Airways’ alleged failure to send its key decision makers to the talks. This Unite writing to British Airways management with a final compromise positon for acceptance by noon today.
Commenting Unite assistant general secretary Howard Beckett said: “The refusal by British Airways bosses to meaningfully consider our compromise offer is deeply disappointing.
“A resolution to this long running dispute was within the grasp of British Airways, but instead of grabbing that opportunity, bosses rebuffed it. It now means British Airways faces an entirely avoidable two week strike and prolonged legal action on behalf of over 1,400 mixed cabin crew.
“Unite believes the divisive way British Airways has targeted striking members of cabin crew is unlawful and amounts to blacklisting. The airline should be under no illusion of Unites' intent to pursue justice on behalf of members 'all the way to the highest court' in the land.
“We would urge British Airways’ bosses to come to their senses and think again.”
To date, the union says there has been a total of 26 days of strike action since the beginning of January which has led to the cancellation of flights and the airline chartering, or ‘wet leasing’, aircraft from other airlines such as Titan Airways, Vueling and Thomson Airways to cover striking cabin crew.
Operationally the airline may decide to combine flights, charter in from other code share airlines, and operate a pre- empted positioning of extra aircraft to maintain mixed fleet schedules, which are thought to only cover some 33% of BA routes.
Since 2010 all British Airways new cabin crew employees join what is called ‘mixed fleet’, where despite promises that pay would be 10 per cent above the market rate, the union claims basic pay starts at just £12,192 with £3 an hour flying pay. Unite estimates that on average ‘mixed fleet’ cabin crew earn £16,000, including allowances, a year. BA disputed the calculation and claims the minimum or lowest rates are from £21k per annum.
The airline also used a busy news day to slip out the news that the BA computer meltdown has cost the airline (so far) £80 million. To add to its woes, the Heathrow baggage conveyors for some BA flights broke down yesterday leaving many fliers without their luggage, as they were forced to leave it behind or possibly be denied boarding.
JULIAN BRAY +44(0)1733 345581, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations Analyst/expert, www.freelancedirectory.org?name=Julian.Bray.aviation.comment Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industry, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK,Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476 www.aviationcomment.com