Reply To: BA strikers to lose travel perks

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Willie Walsh salary is competitive with others at his level. He should not be criticised for making a success of his life, and through hard work being rewarded at an appropriate level.

I can’t be bothered to check his salary details in my Annual Report now, but in salary terms he earns nothing like £750,000.

Crew are not being asked to take a pay cut; it was Unite which proposed a pay cut as the solution.

When I last chatted to him, he mentioned he had just returned from a holiday with his family. This came up as I was discussing the WT+ predict and he stated he and his family flew World Traveller Plus.

Hardly a huge “travel perk” as unlike many families on holiday as he mentioned he spent most of the flight meeting customers and speaking to crew.

Cost cutting is not an offence, demanding excessive pay and the continuation of outdated BOAC-era working practices is indeed offensive to passengers and most right-minded working people.

The Union leadership are the ones who have stirred up and mandated a strike. It is quite plain for all to see that there is only modest support within BA – centred at LHR – for this action. The Union is weakening and knows it must fight to survive, and striking is the frightened response of a dying beast.

While there has been some disruption, this has been successfully kept to a minimum, with 75% of passengers booked to fly being flown throughout the strike. People “unfortunately” don’t seem to get to see all this disruption exactly because it has been kept to an absolute minimum and BA has continued to run a schedule using its own and other aircraft, booking people onto competitors where necessary.

BA and WW spent one whole year negotiating with the unions; they failed to agree a settlement.

BA continues to report accurate legally audited statistics while Unite/Bassa peddle lies and mistruths.

I think the public did have support for BA Crew. Many continue to support the right-minded crew who have continued to support the airline and travelling public during this strike.

However, it is clear from reading the paper, TV news and forums such as this that the public has little time for crew who have decided to strike, and do so at a time which has caused distress over the traditional Easter break, a period over which Unite said it would not take action.

To cite your example of Cathay, that is not a highly Unionised airline, and staff are paid far less than is the case at BA. A lower cost base, and co-operative staff led by strong management who can focus on the economics of running an airline rather than distractions from Union dinosaurs will lead BA back into profit. Despite all this, there is still industrial unrest at Cathay, so your argument holds no water at any level.

Let’s not forget WW managed a 10% margin just two years ago, has put in place a (fully funded) Fleet Replacement Programme which is already underway with 777/A320/Embraer deliveries and 787 and A380 on the way, managed an operating PROFIT in Q4 2009 and has presided over improvements to the hard products in First and Club World as well as the merger with Iberia and further alignment with American Airlines.

You seem to think another CEO would handle things differently. I can tell you they would not, and if I have any criticism of WW it is that he held back standing up to Unite for too long. In an AA/IB/BA conglomerate I can tell you that BA unions would get short shrift in demanding the perpetuation of outdated working practices.

I continue to fly British Airways, and have signalled my support for those hard-pressed crew who in choosing to work through the strike face bullying and intimidation from BASSA and others by booking next month’s flying programme exclusively on BA.

The City is also in support of WW and BA Management, as you will see from the share price which continues to upward spiral (up over 25% in the past six months).

I am proud to support the hard working cabin crew at BA, and to support the airline with my own flying spend.

Unite lacks the intelligence and the support to break BA, and it must be stopped.

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