Reply To: 83.2% Vote for Industrial Action

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An overall fair appraisal Pixelmeister. The vast majority of BASSA members do not wish to strike. They feel they have been forced into the situation not of their making and have no alternative ways to express their frustration and displeasure.

Despite other’s assertions it is clear many people are not booking with BA whilst industrial action is ongoing – especially when there are equally viable alternatives. The dispute not only impacts near term bookings within the current 28 day window but also many months in advance. Why book with BA and take a risk however small, when one can book with the competition and avoid risk?

As long as the dispute drags on, BA is not focussing its attention on the competition; it is paying/wasting large sums for continued legal and strategic advice; it is paying a range of other operators to be “on-call” – despite not being used; it is training large amounts of crew and incurring training costs as well as paying for the over capacity; the company’s morale is rock bottom and reputation will remain in tatters.

Although your analogy with Murdoch is relevant as far as workforce needs to move with the times, it breaks down as Wapping was a highly automated innovation. A manually intensive operation was mainly replaced with an automated one – over 75% of the print operators jobs no longer existed. As in the flight deck where the flight engineer and navigator role has been replaced by computers and the pilots predominantly undertaking a checking and checking the checker roles. There has been no automation of the cabin crew function.

Although many perceive CC as being flying waiters/waitresses in reality it is the cabin crew that resolve or smooth over the myriad of in-flight issues that occur. If it was not for their expertise and people skills, honed over years, BA would be a lot poorer. One benefit of the VCC program has been the significant change of perception wrt the Cabin Crew role – including many pilots admitting they could not/would not handle it.

There are a couple of thousand long term cabin crew who are not members of a union and therefore could not vote. One would expect that these crew would have shown their support for Walsh and signed up for his offer and taken the capped RPI pay increase into their paycheque already. I understand only a small proportion have done this.

To believe the nonvoting cabin crew are in the main supportive of Walsh, as a certain mendacious poster is implying in the title of his red-top thread, is naive in the extreme. Crew not striking should in no way be viewed as supportive of Walsh’s leadership. Success for BA should be its front line team signing up and not how often it can exploit legal loopholes or minimise the impact of a strike.

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