BA and union agree to end dispute

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This topic contains 30 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by  VintageKrug 16 May 2011
at 16:55

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  • Anonymous


    Thought to start a new thread on this as we have a verdict,

    BBC reports that the dispute is over, although there is a ballot pending from the Union’s members to accept that deal. Would be interested to know some of the details of the agreement, such as the travel perks, what WW wanted to do and what BA achieved from this dispute.




    VCC programme ended
    Variable payments to be contractual
    Back dated pay rise
    Binding arbitration for (uncompleted cases only) of sacked/suspended crew
    Full staff travel returned & Unite to drop litigation
    BASSA & CC89 to merge
    Payrises linked to savings targets
    Mixed Fleet remains independence

    Though it should be made clear that this will now be put to a vote by the membership, so it’s not entirely concluded, the threat of impotent strike action has lifted.

    So..looks like the Union have achieved the square root of nothing in all this.


    Does the binding arbitration mean that DH may get his job back?


    Nope. It’s only for cases not yet completed.

    Even if arbitration recommended re-instatement, there is no compulsion for BA to re-instate anyone it fires. The “binding” element would only refer to no further appeals etc. not to whether or not an individual is re-instated.


    Dear colleagues

    I am pleased to announce that a settlement has been agreed with Unite in
    the long-running dispute over cabin crew issues. Unite will recommend
    acceptance of the deal in a ballot of members over the coming weeks.

    I welcome the fact that at last we have reached a point where we can put
    this dispute behind us.

    I want to pay tribute to colleagues at all levels of the company whose
    determination and hard work over the last 18 months did so much to create
    the conditions for the settlement that has become possible in recent weeks.
    This has been a remarkable team effort.

    Our agreement with Unite involves acknowledgement by the union that the
    structural changes we have made in crew operations are permanent. The
    changes in numbers of onboard crew will remain, and the recruitment of new
    crew at Heathrow on different terms and conditions will continue.

    Unite has also acknowledged that we need to modernise the way we work with
    each other. So we have agreed changes to our internal procedures that are
    better suited to our highly competitive, customer-focused industry while
    ensuring that workplace issues can be raised promptly and effectively.

    Once these new working relationships are fully implemented, I will
    recommend to the Board the full restoration of staff travel concessions to
    crew who went on strike last year.

    We have given assurances to address concerns on earnings and lifestyle
    associated with the introduction of new crew, and there will be an external
    review process for uncompleted disciplinary cases arising from the dispute.

    In line with previous offers, crew will receive pay rises of up to 2.9 per
    cent this year and up to 3.0 per cent next year. Further rises of 1.1 per
    cent this year and 0.5 per cent next year are available, subject to
    equivalent additional productivity savings.

    We all have enormous admiration for the professionalism and skills of
    British Airways cabin crew. Together we have a great future in serving our
    customers and making this airline the envy of our competitors. It is time
    for us all to move forward.

    Keith Williams
    Chief Executive


    Good to see that a deal has been reached. I think it is encouraging (that unlike the past) the promises to change the working relationship between BA and Unite are genuine structural changes with clear conditions attached, rather than just promises that ultimately become unfulfilled.

    BA, with its dominant position in one of the most lucrative aviation markets in the world should be a much stronger force than it is, and these changes to a more market facing customer focused and less insular culture should help it get there.


    This from BBC news, obviously a changed person;
    One representative at the meeting, Duncan Holley, said there had been a “wind of change” at BA under new chief executive, Keith Williams.

    Mr Holley, who was one of those sacked by the airline during the dispute, said the airline had taken some “brave steps”, and the union should match those brave steps


    Hmm… so what on earth has the pain of the last year achieved for cabin crew ? OK we all knew that as soon as the ‘imposition’ case was lost, the union was on a hiding to nothing.

    The deal looks awfully similar to the one that was agreed between Tony Woodley and Willie Walsh last year – the one that was rejected by a consultative ballot and when revamped didn’t make it as far as the membership because of the CC89/BASSA hissy.

    The only new items on this one are that some payments are to become contractual. In terms of sacked/suspended crew, it actually is worse as it only covers cases yet to be completed. I believe the earlier offers covered all disciplinaries.

    The merging of the two branches is a fig leaf for Unite. It means the embarrassment about the BASSA accounts gets buried very deep. It also means that the ‘novel’ constitution and reimbursement of post holders gets swept away. It allows individuals like the BASSA branch sec and chair to quietly disappear. In short, it provides a fresh start unfettered by baggage from the past. Maybe this time around the new branch will be led by individuals who will remember that their first duty is to act in the interests of the membership.

    Hopefully the new branch will remember Churchill’s phrase ‘better jaw-jaw than war war.’.


    With thanks to Bettygirl:

    Working together – A joint settlement between British Airways and Unite the union

    Briefing Notes 11 May 2011

    Dispute Item – Dispute related disciplinaries.

    Settlement – Any employees dismissed for dispute related reasons, and whose case has not been heard by an Employment Tribunal, may elect to have their case heard through the ACAS arbitration scheme. The result will be binding on both parties. ACAS will also carry out a review of other dispute related disciplinary cases.

    Dispute Item – Sickness related pay claims.

    Settlement – British Airways is committed to paying all crew who were genuinely sick during industrial action. Affected individuals will have the opportunity to ask for a further final review and if it is concluded that the sickness is genuine, pay will be restored.

    Dispute Item – Trade Union facilities.

    Settlement – Both parties have recognised that in order to maintain a strong business, managing through change together is essential. On this basis we have agreed a new way of working and a new Trade Union facilities agreement based on a set of principles that will enable us to work together to deliver for our customers, our business and our people.

    From the implementation of this agreement there will be a single cabin crew Unite branch at Heathrow. A new single Unite branch and NSP will also be established for Gatwick to give it the autonomy to focus on its own future.

    Dispute Item – Assurances for crew following the introduction of Mixed Fleet.

    Settlement –
    Crew have a firm commitment from British Airways in respect of their collectively agreed arrangements.
    All existing part time lists will be completed in seniority order by grade. New part time opportunities will be available every 3 months.
    There will be a fair and transparent distribution of routes across all fleets consistent with commercial need. There will be seasonal reviews chaired by an independent third party to ensure this is achieved.
    New aircraft will be introduced across all fleets and crew will be trained to ensure they hold the relevant licences.
    The career structure for crew on all fleets remains unchanged. Although there will only be limited promotional opportunities, they will be on current terms and conditions.
    Both parties are committed to honouring agreements and working together to collectively agreed arrangements.
    Crew at Heathrow will continue to have the ability to transfer between Eurofleet and Worldwide on a one for one basis on the current terms and conditions.
    All existing variable pay will continue to be paid as now
    A new contractual Permanent Variable Earnings Guarantee (PVEG) will be introduced. The objective of the scheme is to provide greater security of variable earnings for crew on Eurofleet and Worldwide. The PVEG means that crew in these fleets will be guaranteed to be paid at least the baseline amount of variable pay each year.
    Dispute Item – Disruption Agreement

    Settlement –
    The Disruption Agreement will continue to apply. A new process has been agreed to minimise the impact of disruption on both customers and crew. Under this the double night for Worldwide inbound services to the UK and Europe can be removed, but associated days off in the published roster will apply.
    When disruption takes place the IFCE management team will immediately advise duty representatives and crew colleagues when and how the Disruption Agreement has been applied. A review will take place of any disruption at the next joint meeting
    Dispute item – Volunteer Cabin Crew

    Settlement – A new company wide programme will be launched in all customer contact and customer support areas. The new programme will replace the current arrangements for voluntary cabin crew. The programme will also give cabin crew and other colleagues the chance to experience working in other areas across the business

    Dispute Item – Pay & Productivity

    Settlement –
    Incremental pay rises will be unaffected.
    Basic Pay
    British Airways has offered a two year pay deal, effective from 1/2/2011 as follows:
    Year one 2011/12 the company will increase base pay based on December 2010 RPI and capped at 2.9%
    Year two 2012/13 the company will increase base pay based on December 2011 RPI and capped at 3%
    The next pay review will be effective from February 2013
    In addition a further 1.1% base pay increase in Year 1 and 0.5% in Year 2 is available to be paid subject to equivalent additional productivity savings being agreed with the company.
    It is the intention to hold discussions with a view to achieving this additional payment by the 1st July 2011.
    Dispute Item – Staff Travel

    Settlement – Following the acceptance and full implementation of the agreement and the new principles of how we work together, management will recommend to the Board that they return in full non-contractual staff travel concessionsSource:


    Hopefully now the disastrous (from a customer service perspective in club) mixed fleet will not grow and we can continue to enjoy the excellent usual service on board!


    Mixed Fleet is here to stay; early reports (if true) were only to be expected as the new employees bedded in.

    Those who have flown with MF are giving good reports, especially for their positive attitude and customer focus; they are getting feedback at least as good as that of legacy fleet.


    The view of mixed fleet is that they cannot keep up with the pace (as I understand their stopovers etc are very short and so can understand) and so they quit very quickly! So there is some hope that legacy crew with proper experience and not ex charter will remain for a long while! I am braving a direct Denver (in club) flight in a month and so hopefully my views will be proved wrong and it will be excellent as I really enjoy flying BA and my loyalty is with them (partly through great lounges in certain UK regional places and the great T5 experience (and out of fairness the joint BA / AA lounge in Denver is a great improvement).


    It is good to see that under the new branch there will be a rebalancing of union influence so that BA can get on with the running of the business and product development efficiently without undue interference and the union will remain focused on matters of genuine importance to members.

    Also the bitter rivalry between BASSA and CC89 has frustrated progress in the past so their dissolution as separate branches is welcome.

    It is also good that Gatwick is to get its own branch as they were always overlooked by BASSA and this will hopefully bode well for agreeing on working practices to allow more long range routes to operate from LGW.

    Also welcome is that the concept behind the VCC programme will remain and be extended.

    The dispute has been tawdry and unedifying but at least there are now signs that some good is to come from it and will make BA a better airline.


    Thank be to goodness that there appears to be some progress towards ending this dispute.

    If I have to read one more spiteful, vindictive, and venomous message, which purports to pass as commentry (informed or otherwise), I really shall be quite ill.


    To pick up on one previous claim that Deutsche Bank reported that BA now has the lowest employee costs of any airline in Europe. This is not the case. First of all, the measure used by the bank was employee costs as a percentage of sales, not absolute costs or cost per head. Also the comparison was against the major European network carriers and not LCCs. Ryanair’s employee costs as a percentage of sales are substantially lower than BA. Also, a comparison of employee costs between employers in different countries is influenced to a large extent by differing social security regimes and so forth.

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