BA asks office staff to volunteer as cabin crewBack to Forum
It seems clear that something of a gulf exists between cabin crew and the unions which are supposed to represent them. Matters are compounded by some volume media organisations in the UK who publish stories which, with some regularity, do not stand up to the most basic of scrutiny, and which leave the informed reader wondering if meddlesome antagonists are at play.
Certainly, my most recent first-hand experiences of BA cabin crews, operating under fairly challenging circumstances, suggests that the rhetoric of BASSA and Unite is confined largely to their own press-releases and attempts at hype-inducing, Scargill-style rabble-rousing.
I wrote (at length!) about my own experiences on FlyerTalk:
– and the number of private messages I have received from posters identifying themselves as crew since, as well as my own wider experience from up to 130 sectors pa, suggest that those personal experiences reflect a quality of staff that is far from unusual.
It’s a long piece, but it’s a complicated situation.21 Jan 2010
CMoir12 – unfortunately, BA cannot employ agency staff to replace staff on strike. However, as NTarrant pointed out, they can take agency staff to replace back office teams, who are not on strike and the airline can recover costs from insurers – they are covers for strike action!22 Jan 2010
“This shows a management prepared to fight back and not just take these stupid BA cabin crew’s threats…”
Beethoven I sincerley hope this terminology is meant stupid as in threats and not in terms of stupid Cabin crew. Cabin Crew are certainly not stupid I wish to add.
As I said before this action by Ba deserves a round of applause, however I am sure that this time a large number of ordinary Cabin Crew will be operating flights anyhow as many do not agree with Industrial action again. SO once firm date threats are set it will be interesting to watch the chain of events, IF the majority of UNITE members will vote in favour of Industrial action, and IF that is,,,,23 Jan 2010
BASSA members have now been officially advised by British Airways that strike action by them will result in the permanent loss of (non-contractual) staff travel benefits.
As many crew depend on these benefits to effectively ‘commute’ to work in London, it may very well be the case that far fewer office staff volunteers will ultimately be required to cover flights……23 Jan 2010
I guess thats one of the biggest reasons many cabin crew work for BA and commuters would have to move or leave BA
BASSA members have also to think that if they get made redundant, (the high court case in Feb may allow the BA to discipline perhaps, if they win) – in this recession, there are not many jobs to go to, especially in the airline industry ….
I have been watching the BA share price recently and its not been hit by this, in fact its been rising. To me, the City thinks that BA is more likely to win than BASSA – i think most people hope so23 Jan 2010
Perhaps the most likely outcome is a negotiated settlement (with netiher side really satisfied) and BASSA living to fight another day.
Meaning that the threat of industrial action will still be simmering under the next time the union feels strong enough.
All in all, not a great outcome.23 Jan 2010
That is the very reason that the staff contract should be changed to a profit share one. If they are tied into the success of the company, they will do all in their power to make it a success.
That way it is not just their job at stake, but their pay.
I believe the staff could well still earn their high salaries that way, but they would have to participate in service improvements to achieve it23 Jan 2010
I understand what you are sayng, but if the cabin crew were prepared to strike for 12 days at Xmas, what chance do you think that they will accept a radical change like that?23 Jan 2010
I am not sure that when they voted for action, they knew that it was 12 days anyway.
Radical change is needed otherwise they will end up having no job, so putting some of their pay at risk seems a win win scenario if they keep the company going23 Jan 2010
Expat_Consultant: cabin crew were not ‘prepared’ to strike for twelve days at all. They voted ‘yes’ to industrial action, which BASSA subsequently and unexpectedly announced would take the form of a twelve consecutive day action.
There’s a very strong suggestion that the crew’s vote was used to mandate a headline-grabbing industrial action intended primarily to bolster the campaign(s) of certain candidate(s) in the forthcoming Unite General Secretary election.
Crews may have been naive in the last vote, but those who fly regularly with the airline, or who know many crew, will also know that they are a professional band of men and women who are about as wilful and malicious as Miss Marple.
Suggestions to the contrary are what fill the ill-researched columns of mid-market tabloids (and lately, worryingly, the cut-and-paste departments of the online divisions of some of the supposedly more-rigorous broadsheets).23 Jan 2010
kmcottrell and continental club
You can rationalize the action however you wish, but the cabin crew empowered their union to take industrial action and the union chose to announce a 12 day strike.
Only through legal action was this strike declared unlawful.
These are the facts.
As to being wilful and malicious, who suggested that?
Not me, I hypothesised that they are unlikely to accept a move from their present package to a new pay structure dependent on profit share, something much more radical than the source of the strike ballot.
If you let me know which bit of this is challenging you, I’ll try to explain it in a different way.23 Jan 2010
Self-serving is probably the only way to describe union leaders. In fact, I dislike them more than politicians.
But I will tell you why in my opinion profit sharing doesn’t work. In theory, I agree with the concept completely. I own a small company and I introduced a profit sharing scheme years ago. I truly believed that employees should be stakeholders in a business in some way. For years we made huge profits and everyone was rewarded handsomely. But in the last 3 years, we have struggled to break even. But staff become accustomed to that income and they want to continue receiving it. They think there is a bottomless pit of money from which to draw on. So when times are bad, they complain that they’re not getting enough money and/or leave. But when times are good, of course they are happy to collect their bonus.
In the context of large unionised companies, the same happens. Look at the case of two of the biggest nickel mining towns in Canada who have been on strike now for 9 months. In 2006, the mining companies introduced a bonus system based on the spot price of nickel so that workers would share in the windfall. All well and good in 2007, it effectively doubled their salaries. Now the price of Nickel has dropped to a 5 year low, but they want their money still.
Profit sharing never works because most employees don’t think in an entrepreneurial way. They don’t understand balance sheets nor do they care about them. And the same applies to union leaders actually. They just go after what they can get. And the sad thing is, they get away with it all too often. Governments step in and bailout failing companies so the taxpayer ends up footing the bill because of the unions’ greed and the governments facilitate it because they’re running scared. GM and Alitalia (to name but a few) should have been left to go bust and teach them all a good lesson. The more unions get rewarded for their actions, the more we risk going back to the 60’s and 70’s and we risk undoing what Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan did for us. My biggest wish of all is that BA cabin crew finally see their leaders for what they really are and send them packing with a bloody nose.24 Jan 2010
Well said FCT you are so right about profit share bonus. You will also recognise that some employees feel they should have what you have even though you have the responsibility of keeping them in work or may have put your home on the line.
The only bonus that works is a sales bonus and it is evident on BA that the crew get nothing from Highlife Shop sales as they don’t push anything, where as other airlines pay the crew a commission on sales, although some do go too far and add targets.
The thing with the big union leaders is that if members go on strike they still get paid. I have seen people voting for strike action on a “point of principle” even if they are only after 1% increase in pay, principles don’t pay the mortgage. 12 days on a picket line does not pay the mortgage either. The union is not very clever really.24 Jan 2010
Well said. I’m ex Cabin Crew – not BA I might add – married to a retired BA Captain & we are appalled by the intended strike action. I know the nature of the beast – it is the job with the golden handcuffs – most cabin crew hate the work but love the lifestyle and a big majority of them really don’t live in the real world. Mr Walsh should sack the lot of them & bring them down to earth, literally. Thousands of trained cabin crew on discount airlines would jump at the chance to work for BA. It is quite obvious BA Cabin Crew have failed to appreciate that the UK is still in recession and desperate times call for desperate measures. Wake up cabin crew and appreciate what you have in these depressed economic times – it’s not that easy back on civvy street! They don’t seem to appreciate what they’ve got.26 Jan 2010