Any short term reputational impact (entirely brought on by the Union’s refusal to negotiate properly) will pale into insignificance when set against the structurally high costs and restrictive working practices which BA Cabin Crew exhibit.
I know it’s a tough call when you are talking about people’s livelihood, but the bottom line is that no other airline pays such wages in the current environment, and that has to change.
I really don’t think Unite have done a very good job of negotiating on Cabin Crew’s behalf; they really have no bargaining tools left now, and a strike is highly unlikely; a settlement will be reached and it’s likely to be on worse conditions than would have been the case prior to this Christmas’s ridiculous, childish “12 Days of Christmas” PR disaster.
Were a strike to happen now, Unite and Cabin Crew choosing to strike are on VERY shakey ground.
1. The vote authorising the strike was taken prior to the High Court judgement that Unite did not have a case that changes proposed by BA to crewing levels on board (which in any case would only change to those which have been operated by Gatwick crews, members of the same union for a number of years) constituted a change to their contractual contracts of employment.
2. Facing loss of staff travel benefits (which I think are justified per se, but are NOT contractually guaranteed) many crew will decide not to strike.
3. Enough other BA staff are trained, ready, willing and able to crew most longhaul services that even if a strike occurred, there would be minimal impact to most longhaul destinations.
Either way, Unite must give at least seven days notice prior to nay industrial action, and has also pledged not to strike “over Easter” which covers the first week in April.
I would be interested to know if there is a statute of limitations for a strike vote – for how long after a ballot result can a Union still claim a mandate to call a strike?