Reply To: BA cabin crew set to back new strikes

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your posting avoids some unpleasant truths. BA has been on a downward spiral for a number of years. True, the airline has been innovative in the premium cabins, but it has based its profitability on being able to capture a large slice of the business and first market. The LoCos have taken off (pardon the pun) in Europe and offer a reasonable service to most destinations. BA’s saving grace is its ability to offer connections at LHR to its longhaul network. BA shorthaul in economy is not radically better than the competition and you really have to work hard to justify paying premium prices for flights lasting a couple of hours max.

Now, having a reliance on the business traveller is fine when the economy is booming and the world a stable place, but throw in a bit of terrorism, rocketing fuel prices and the odd revolution in the middle east and they all run for the hills. BA got burned badly by 9/11, 7/7, the oil price spike and the global stock market decline and recession. Now I’m not sure how much of this you can blame Willie Walsh for. I’m certain that the Unite union would like to say he was behind it all. The plain facts are that BA was in pretty dire financial straits when Walsh took over as CEO. He has done a decent job in keeping the business afloat,even when it was burning about a million sterling a day. He has managed to reduce the cost base, secured a merger with Iberia and an alliance with American – tasks which his forebears never achieved. He has given the company a degree of stability at a time when the airline industry has gone through a really bad patch.

I find it interesting to note that in the past year around half of the hard working cabin crew actually ignored any strike call and reported for work normally. On top of that the union has had around 30% of it’s members resign in the past twelve months. That’s a startling figure for a workforce in dispute with management. I can’t think of any other dispute where so many have voluntarily abandoned their trade union. It does suggest that there are large segments of the rank and file membership who are unhappy with the way that the union leadership are conducting this dispute. At the last ballot, nearly half of the remaining membership did not support strike action.

I’m not sure what this ‘fair playing field’ you allude to is. If people want to be treated fairly, then striking is not the way to address the issue.

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