BA Cabin Crew Strike – Consolidated Thread

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  • Tom Otley

    REVISED: Just spoken to BA.

    The situation at the moment is as follows: no flights are cancelled, but the website will not accept bookings for the affected period for any BA flights – that includes LCY and LGW.

    If you go on, and it does accept them, that’s because it’s a big IT job because they are having to close the bookings down on some 7000 flights.

    In coming days, they will go through all the crew rosters and work out if there’s anyway of running some flights (ie: with crew who didn’t vote for strike action), but it’s too early to say whether this will be possible or not.

    As flights are cancelled (or I should say, if they are cancelled), people will be contacted as per the details on the BA website.

    BA has now released a full statement in reaction to the strike vote:

    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.

    Thousands of staff across the company have made contributions to the cost reductions that are essential to move the company back toward profitability. Our cabin crew, who are rightly renowned for their professionalism and skills, cannot be exempt from this process.

    Our package for them is very fair and reasonable. It reduces no-one’s terms and conditions, and gives most crew pay rises of between two and seven per cent this year and next year. British Airways’ cabin crew are already the best rewarded in the UK airline industry.

    Unite says we ‘imposed’ this package, but it was discussed with them for nine months and is largely based on meeting voluntary applications for part-time working and redundancy.

    We will not be withdrawing the minor changes we have made to onboard crew numbers from Heathrow, which bring crewing levels into line with equivalent flights from Gatwick. Crew numbers at Gatwick have been in place for many years with Unite’s agreement.

    We have made clear to Unite that we want them to talk to us about their ideas for the recruitment of new crew in future when the business is in a position to grow. That invitation remains open.

    Unite’s claim that changing onboard crew numbers from Heathrow is a contractual issue, with which we disagree, will be resolved by the courts in February. A 12-day strike over Christmas and New Year can have no effect in determining this issue.

    Willie Walsh, British Airways chief executive, said: “A strike is senseless – and we urge Unite to draw back. We will not be reversing our changes to onboard crew numbers. They have allowed us to accept more than 1,000 requests for voluntary redundancy – and those former colleagues have left the business.

    “Unite must understand that there can be no return to the old, inefficient ways if we want to ensure long-term survival in the interests of our customers, shareholders and all our staff.

    “They have no justification for threatening such extreme action. It is very sad that they are seeking to use the Christmas holiday plans and family reunions of hundreds of thousands of people to try to pursue their case.”


    I notice BA are asking customers to call them on an 0844 number which is often more expensive to call than 01, 02 or 03 numbers. Personally, I think this is a bit of a cheek. According the website this number is linked to the geographic number 0191 490 7901.


    This has been a clear outcome with 92% of BA staff voting to strike, even though some threads on BT stated it was a “militant Minority”.
    Well it isn’t is it?

    We all knew this was coming. It is not the first strike on BA, or the first time services will be in chaos, so all have had enough time Not to book with them, & my friends & colleagues who do choose BA have avoided them. Many already simply choose other carriers, that in these difficult times, eagerly await the business.

    I am sad for the crews that feel their voice is not heard. Clearly for the Customers who will have no flights, or have to pay again, IF, they can find alternatives at these busy time. It may well ruin globally, families getting together. In every country, BA’s reputation will be damaged.

    This is a symptom of B A Senior Management’s team. They have taken a once great Airline, de-moralised its staff to this point. I have a friend that knows 7 CSD’s in BA. They voice they can no longer deliver a service to the level & expectation they were trained to. It is not purely about money its attitude towards them, resources being so constrained & they have as one put it “Come to detest BA Management, dread going into work with Morale so low & a service reputation that is in the past.”

    As for any Business, this action is a symptom of a crisis, failed Management. No other Airline in the world, has been managed in this way. No other Airline will be damaged so much when this occurs.
    Every other Airline have the same issues to face, but 90%+ of yr workforce ?

    This will create one of the final Terminal blows to the future of BA.
    Its a worldwide PR disaster.
    I am very sad for all concerned, Customers, Staff teams, & the loss to the UK Economy to which this will contribute, but not surprised.


    MarkRoberts9…what utter tosh……It is not BA management that are striking it is a poorly lead and thoroughly misguided group of staff of have for too long been disconnected from the the rest of intelligent life. The plans are utterly dispropotionate and clearly designed to bring about either a coup at BA or misery for nearly a million people. I am fortunate not to be one but frankly I hope BA take them on and lance this festering boil that has for so long held the company and its customer to ransom. Todays union meeting would have made a great backdrop to the last episode of “ashes to ashes” it was just so 1970’s. These people are dinosaurs.


    Yet another degrading use of the Forum Binman!

    I think Tom Ottley has warned against this sort of statement…
    “Festering boils” out of touch with intelligent life?
    If you cant make an intelligent argument you have been asked to Keep out by The Editors here.

    So i suppose all those that choose to fly BA are out of touch with Intelligent life, so they must be the that the implication!

    This “Forum” is being abused by such stupid comments, legally liable, & people who have no idea how to pout forward a view in an adult manner. There have been so many complaints in one week i am is not a platform to degrade contributors or insult others.
    If it continues, then there will need to be some Applied rules, more banning of people, Or simply close it down.

    If Unite, BA Crew, or passengers who use BA see yr comments, BT will soon have legal action against them. They don’t provide a Forum for this low level, un-intelligent comment.


    Complete twaddle MarkRoberts9.

    As usual yet more inflammatory comments from you towards those who take a more considered perspective and your anti Walsh “my best friend was made redundant by BA” bandwagon.

    As ever, no direct, personal experience as you haven’t flown the airline in years.

    All your insight gained from a “a friend who knows 7 CSDs”. I have friends who know Jeremy Clarkson, doesn’t make me an expert on being a motoring journalist.

    This is entirely Union inflicted; many BA staff have been woefully mislead by their Unions, and it is these very staff who will suffer most in this ill-judged industrial action.

    THAT Union is the festering boil, and quite rightly described as such.

    Name me one firm for which strike action to the long term benefit of the company or the employees themselves. Just one.

    This strike, and the distress and upset it will cause to many, is an indictment of the management of Unite, and that is where most right-thinking people both on here and elsewhere will firmly lay the blame.

    If they think they can do it better, let them set up and run an airline themselves.


    We are due to travel 21 Dec so may not be affected but I think the staff are living in a different world from the rest of us. I am self-employed. If I refuse to work, the customer goes elsewhere. Why do BA staff think customers wont do likewise? Without customers, I have no work and no income.
    Recently I have had to travel with LOT and Aer Lingus because BA have stopped some flights to Poland. As far as i could see, the cabin staff were doing exactly what BA cabin staff do. So why would BA want to pay more than LOT or Aer Lingus? I can see the existing staff dont want to lose beneficial arrangements


    VK- I don’t have any friend who was made redundant by BA.
    I do have one who resigned 18 months ago stating the exact issues that have come to a head today, that are slowly eating away BA’s ability to even continue to exist.
    (You do seem to have a rather imbalanced fixation on this…!)

    The Share price wont be going up for much longer?
    £3.7 Billion pension deficit, reported on BBC news just alone.
    As for the “Naming a Company” re strikes, indeed i cannot name one Airline in the world that has reached these depths of staff relations.
    92% of the crew referred to as “festering boils /out of touch with intelligent life” in the new low depths of the comments above, with an 80% turnout.
    In any Company that represents a crisis of the fundamentals of management.


    In many ways I should have little or no personal interest in the situation – I travel almost exclusively within the UK, have never flown with VS, SQ, EK etc that long haul flyers at least have the option of when things aren’t going right with BA, and live over 2 hours away from the nearest airport they now serve. But I’m passionate about BA, when your norm has become Flybe and easyJet (not to mention that ****** pier 1 at Gatwick south), to fly with BA – and especially if departing from T5 – has become something of a comparative luxury, dare I say even worth the road / rail journey. My local colleagues feel the same, and if anything this will just further threaten the already declining domestic route network, also seen with BMI.

    For my sins I’m also a member of Unite – these successive union mergers mean they cover a multitude of sectors – and this isn’t the first time where I’ve considered my membership to be verging on hypocrisy around disputes in the transport industry.

    Hope none of you planned to fly in on BA for the BT forum posters’ union (in the get-together sense)….


    Hello everyone,

    why is it that once again a thread is deteriorating into a slanging match between the usual suspects. People are entitled to their opinion whether for or against the unions or the management as the cause of this dispute, but that DOES NOT give anyone the right to use inappropriate language.

    Rather than having a go at each other, I would like to read the sensible well thought out arguments of posters as to how the dispute could be resolved.

    It has now become a bit personal for me as my sister and her family are due to fly to Tel Aviv with BA for my nephews Barmitzvah and it looks like, if the strike goes ahead then they will not be at what is a very important day in our nephews life. Before you all come down on me like a ton of bricks, I know that many people are in a similar situation with regards to family reunions at Xmas.

    One final point on which your views would be welcome is the way that BA are going about dealing with the potential problem. My sister was told that for the moment they have to turn up for the flight and if it is cancelled then BA will do there best to organise alternatives flights. for me this is not acceptable as the chances of their being seats on other carriers on the day is very unlikely. Why are BA not rebooking people now or refunding money so that people can sort themselves out if BA will not do it for them yet.

    Surely by acting now BA could save some of their disgruntled customers a lot of inconvenience and minimise the number of ruined Xmas holidays. Doing nothing now is just going to alienate people further.

    I look forward to reading the thoughts of others on this matter.

    Safe travels,



    Hi Jonathan

    Although personaly unaffected by this debacle, I think your point about the unreasonableness of holding people to flights that cannot be guaranteed is well made.


    As I see it this is in many ways a old fashioned union v management dispute with greedy,over protected cabin crew trying to hang on to unsustainable privileged working conditions being used as pawns in a bigger game.

    The frightened angry cabin crew ,who are not in fact being asked to give much, have been alienated by an inept Willie Walsh to such an extent that they don’t trust him or the BA management to deliver them a secure future
    The aggressive fading union Unite have seen an opportunity for glory and Willie Walsh appears to have used the negotiating skills of Mr.Punch in dealing with the union / cabin crew concerns
    If this strike goes ahead there will only be losers and BA as we know it will likely disappear.

    As I see it Willie Walsh has handled the cabin crews insecurities appallingly and is the major cause of the escalation of this dispute. He is unfortunately a rather small man with a large ego and little charm who uses the heavy hand when a light touch is needed.
    Very capable of running BA the business but not BA the people
    To his work force he presents as a classic overbearing villain boss and he has lost the trust of the his workers. The Unite union has has predictably grasped with both hands the opportunities presented by Welsh’s inept performance and are leading the cabin crew on a path of self destruction.

    The cabin crew, as I understand it, are not a militant bunch by nature and many (most ?) have no liking or affinity with unions but they want if possible to hang on to most of arguably the best T and Cs in the industry. However most do have an underling understanding that they must move towards accepting new T and Cs that reflect BAs ability to continue as a viable business

    This dispute has to be a arbitrated and soon with Willy Welsh hopefully removing himself from front line negotiations as it seems that he has become the elephant in the room. It could be that finally the only way forward is for Welsh to resign and then the cabin crew will likely feel that they can then trust BA management .Unite will then have lost its relevance and power and members may well push the union to call off the strike.

    Walsh’s plan for BAs survival may well be correct but he has failed to take his work force with him,and in doing so given the union an opportunity to destroy BA. He cannot now win by digging in and attempting to bully the cabin crew into submission. The cabin crew don’t trust Welsh and Unite has seen its chance of gloriously destroying BA and the jobs of the cabin crew for its own ends.


    Due to the threat of this strike, and now the reality of it soon to happen, I have cancelled my trip with BA for next Sunday and have had to re-book my next trip to Orlando with an American (Continental Airlines) carrier. This is the first time in over 20 years that I will fly a US carrier on a long haul flight. Does anyone know what their club/business class product is like? I feel sorry that the crew have been misled into this strike by the leaders of UNITE, and only hope it is quickly resolved. What a shame for everyone travelling during this period, such chaos!


    To be frank, I have had enough of reading threads on this forum which degenerate into a slanging match between contributors. That’s not what I used to come to this forum to read. After the editors requested for this to end on another thread, I thought a line had been drawn. Obviously, that has not happened.

    I had been considering stopping reading these forums for a few weeks, but after the editor comments on another thread, I thought I would continue to give it a try. Enough is enough, I am stopping reading these forums and will go back to reading the magazine only. Good bye.

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