BA Cabin Crew Strike – Consolidated Thread

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  • Anonymous


    Hello everyone,

    well now we know, there is to be a strike after all. I do not think that it will come as a surprise to anyone given that the vote to strike has always, on previous occassions as far as i am aware, been positive.

    I am very interested to hear the views of fellow contributors on this issue, particularly people likely to be affected by the strike.

    I am also keen to know if anyone can come up with a solution that will stop BA going into more serious trouble or even terminal decline.

    Let me be very clear, I absolutely want BA to survive, but it seems that management and unions alike are determind to make that survival as difficult as possible!!

    I look forward to reading other posters views.

    Safe travels,


    More details on the strike can be read at:

    [email protected]

    I’m disappointed to see this action, however not entirely surprised.

    Given the threat of a strike, I decided to book all travel during the Christmas period (for my family) on another carrier. As a Gold card holder and firm believer in BA’s layflat beds (our travel is long-haul), this hurt. But, my decision looks to have been wise.

    My sympathies to all whom will have their holidays (severely) disrupted.

    Tom Otley

    BA has released details of how to rebook if you are affected


    “Customers who are booked to travel between 22 December 2009 and 2 January 2009 and for 48 hours on either side of those dates who would like to take their flight at a different time can change to another BA flight departing in the next twelve months at no charge.

    If a customer’s flight is cancelled because of industrial action, we will offer them the option to refund their ticket, rebook on to a different flight or reroute their journey on another BA flight. “


    Am honestly astonished by this – 12 days over the Xmas period?! A lot of people are going to lose sympathy with BA staff if this goes ahead.

    Tom Otley


    British Airways is extremely disappointed that Unite is planning massive disruption for hundreds of thousands of our customers over the Christmas/New Year holiday period.

    A 12-day strike would be completely unjustified and a huge over-reaction to the modest changes we have announced for cabin crew which are intended to help us recover from record financial losses.

    Unite’s cynical decision betrays a total lack of concern for our customers, our business and other employees within British Airways.

    Tom Otley

    And while we’re at it…. Virgin Atlantic’s

    “As with previous disputes, travellers have been switching across to Virgin Atlantic in recent weeks due to the uncertainty of BA strike action.

    Virgin Atlantic will do all it can to assist BA passengers who are unable to fly during the strike period. Many of our flights are already busy but we will endeavour to help where we can.”

    Tom Otley

    And here is a message from CEO Willie Walsh

    You may have heard that Unite, the union that represents our cabin crew, has threatened strike action between December 22, 2009 and January 2, 2010.

    Let me say immediately we will do everything we can to assist you at what will clearly be a very difficult time if strikes go ahead. We are working hard on contingency plans, and will announce them as soon as they are finalised.

    We are also urging Unite to return to the negotiating table. There are important issues on which we have asked them to put forward new ideas.

    Strike action is completely unjustified.

    It’s no secret that British Airways is in financial difficulty. Like other global airlines, we have been hit extremely hard by the slump in business travel brought on by the world recession.

    We lost £400m last year and will lose at least as much this year. These are the worst financial results in our history. Our revenue is down £1 billion, so reducing costs is absolutely essential even to begin heading back toward profitability and long-term survival.

    Many of my colleagues understand this. Our pilots have agreed a pay cut. Our engineers have agreed more efficient ways of working. A third of our managers have accepted voluntary redundancy. And nearly 7,000 colleagues volunteered for salary reductions because they wanted to help this great British company in a time of need.

    But our cabin crew union has refused to engage in this process seriously.

    My admiration for the professionalism and skills of British Airways cabin crew is second to none. They are an absolutely vital part of our airline, and a great asset. But they have been disgracefully misled by Unite as to how our company-wide cost reduction programme would affect them.

    Unite claims that we are trying to “intimidate workers into accepting poorer contracts”, forcing crew to leave the company, and “attacking” their pay and allowances.

    This is fiction. Our package involves no reduction in terms or conditions for existing crew. Our Heathrow crew will remain the best paid in the industry. Average earnings for cabin services directors are £56,000 on long-haul and £52,000 on short-haul. For junior crew, they are £35,000 and £26,000 respectively. According to the Civil Aviation Authority, average costs of BA crew are twice those of their Virgin Atlantic counterparts.

    In fact, despite our financial backdrop, more than 10,000 of our cabin crew will receive pay rises of between two and seven per cent this year, and again next year. In the worst recession since the Second World War, these are increases many employees in other walks of life can only dream about.

    We have created opportunities for voluntary redundancy, and more than 1,000 crew have taken that option. Similarly, more than 3,000 crew have volunteered to switch to part-time working.

    To accommodate these requests, we have made a small change in our onboard crew numbers from Heathrow, without affecting service standards. Our Gatwick flights have been operating on equivalent crew numbers for years – with Unite’s agreement.

    Unite’s chief complaint seems to be that we are “imposing” the changes at Heathrow. The truth is we had been discussing them with the union for nine months but, despite all the evidence of the company’s (and the industry’s) financial plight, Unite would not be realistic about the clear imperative to reduce costs.

    We could not wait any longer. We moved ahead, making sure that our changes were squarely based on voluntary choices for individuals.

    Unite claims the changes affect contractual terms and conditions. We believe they do not. The union failed to gain an injunction to prevent their introduction, but a full court hearing to settle the contractual question has been set for February 2010.

    We do not understand why Unite is threatening you with disrupted travel plans now over an issue that the courts are preparing to resolve in a few weeks.

    A strike can achieve nothing except huge upset and inconvenience for you. We will do our best to provide as much help and support as we can.

    Willie Walsh

    Last Updated: 15:22 – 14 December 2009


    I have 4 long haul flights scheduled over the strike period.
    BA have been very accommodating with changing dates and allowing a window of 12 months for a new flight date.

    As a Gold card member I try to maintain my loyalty but it has been increasingly difficult over the last 12 months. I suggest BA will lose a great number of usually loyal passengers [these loyal passengers have endured all sorts of adversity over the last year] when they experience what the competition has to offer. Of course the competition is going to thoroughly enjoy scavenging through the potential 1 million passengers affected by the possible BA strike action. Very very damaging to BA


    All companies make mistakes. It’s what they do to put them right that makes the difference. Over to you BA – your next move has the potential to increase long-term loyalty … or not.


    Hi all,

    I am normally someone with full sympathy with the “man/woman” on the street, the people that do the “real” work. I consider myself an average person, and look at my ability to travel for work and fun a privilege; especially as a premium cabin traveller. I am not the most frequent BA traveller but on the occasions I have travelled BA I have always liked it; staff has always been brilliant.

    There are always two sides to any story, but this seems like madness. We are in perhaps the worst trading conditions ever for an airline like BA. So far, the BA Management team has asked for voluntary steps to sort the costs out, and now Unite pulls this? I am afraid there will be no sympathies for the onboard staff from us, the customers in this case. With this industrial action, I suspect the BA numbers will look really awful come next report, and the voluntary measures will be in-voluntary severances from now on.


    The turkeys have voted for an early Christmas. A 12 day strike, should it start, will give BA every reason to shut the company down, fire the crew and start again in January. This would be bar far the best option for the company and may at long last allow them to lance this festering boil. Of course this from someone who is not due to fly with BA over Christmas so I am not having my plans disrupted or have any anxiety over what is being proposed.

    I for one however am not yet convinced that this will go ahead. It appears to be a shock tactic by the TU and I suspect they may have gone too far. Everyone at BA will be affected including the flight crew and ground staff many of whom will also have plans for the festive season and which now are in very real jeopardy. Crew will become figures of hate not just for BA passengers but to their colleagues also.

    It is a great pity that the crew,(who in my experience are world class) are so poorly lead and so poorly served by their 1970’s Trade Unions. I however hope that the company takes the strongest possible stance and ensures that this is the last time they, and the public, are held to ransom in this way.

    Mark Caswell

    Brings a whole new meaning to the Twelve Days of Christmas. All together now:

    On the first day of Christmas, Willie gave me to me…

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