August 8, 2017
BA ‘mixed fleet’ cabin crew to extend current strike
Unite, the union representing British Airways ‘mixed fleet’ cabin crew, has indicated that the current strike, scheduled to run between August 1 and August 15, will be extended with a new strike beginning on August 16 and which will end on August 30. The ‘mixed fleet’ crew represents approximately 15% of BA’s cabin crew.
The dispute is centred on the disparity in pay between ‘mixed fleet’ cabin crew who have been hired since 2010, and regular cabin crew. Unite claims that the ‘mixed fleet’ crew earn appreciably less than other cabin crew, citing that earnings were advertised as between £21,000 and £25,000 per annum, but that in reality, pay starts at just £12,000 with an additional £3.00 per hour.
Oliver Richardson, national officer at Unite, is quoted as saying that: “The airline needs to get around the negotiating table and start recognising that punishing low paid workers fighting for fairer pay is no way for a ‘premium’ airline to behave.”
Also, a recent survey has revealed that nearly half of the new cabin crew have taken second jobs to supplement their income, with some claiming they had slept in their cars between shifts as they could not afford the cost of petrol to drive home.
The situation has not been helped by the news that Virgin cabin crew are due to receive a 6.65 per cent pay raise, while flight service managers and cabin service supervisors will get a 4.45 per cent raise which is to be back-dated to October 2016.
According to Willie Walsh, head of BA’s parent company IAG, BA will use Qatar Airways planes and crew to fly all its passengers to their destinations during the planned two-week strike by some cabin crew, adding, “I’ll be pleased to say that those planes will fly and all of the British Airways passengers who are booked to fly with us over the next couple of weeks will be flying.”
(£1.00 = US$1.30 at time of publication.)