Reply To: 83.2% Vote for Industrial Action

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I don’t know what line of business you are in, but I note that you opted not to respond to my question regarding paying over the odds for staff. I know my company wouldn’t consider paying the kind of difference that you see between what BA was paying cabin crew and what Virgin does. I also noted that the deal offered to cabin crew last year included a 6% pay rise over two years, so your statement about BA gunning for a a cull of those amongst cabin crew is factually incorrect.

Let’s look somewhere other than flight and cabin crew. Let’s look at what BA pay office staff. I’ll wager that BA don’t pay 30-40% over the odds for its admin staff. If BA paid its managers significantly over the odds, then surely it would be a magnet for those who want something less stressful than a job in the City but that paid City wages. I don’t get the impression that this is the case though.

I do agree that the situation needs resolution, but also think that it is time that the two sides recognised their relative roles. Management are there to manage the business. Unions are there to advise of the effect of management decisions on their members. Note the word advise. Unions do not have the right to dictate how the business should be run. We live in a free society. If we don’t like the terms and conditions that our employers are offering, we have the ability to take our skills and capabilities elsewhere. Slavery in the UK went out centuries ago. If an organisation encounters difficulties in the recruitment and retention of staff, it makes business sense to work out why and do something to redress the balance. I note that the latest ballot did not centre on one issue but was a ragbag of ten grievances. I’d love to know why, if they were so terrible, they were not included in the ballots in 2009/10. To my way of thinking what we are seeing is a union that simply has no interest in settling this dispute. One has to wonder now whether this is down to the management/union relationship or some wider political agenda.

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