British Airways Strikes

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This topic contains 101 replies, has 27 voices, and was last updated by  FrequentlyFlying 19 Sep 2019
at 21:34
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Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 102 total)

  • SimonS1
    Participant

    The reverse argument is that a civilised society is one where employees as well as employers have rights.

    I agree with this statement 100%, but I do not agree with labour being withdrawn and the unintended consequences (or intended consequences perhaps) having such an effect on the travelling public.

    As Cedric suggests there must be another civilised way for employees to retain their contractual rights, employers to have the ability to run their business and the travelling public be able to expect, not to be inconvenienced.

    It is easy to say “there must be another way”, but what would you propose?

    For decades the right to withdraw labour and strike has been enshrined in law.

    Generally the way to resolve such issues is negotiation and arbitration, just as happened recently with the Heathrow workers strike which was then suspended. Do you believe that by cancelling dozens of flights over 2 weeks in advance that BA is really serious about reaching agreement? Or are they more interested in protecting their own bottom line by avoiding EC261 compensation?


    SimonS1
    Participant

    My daughter work for Club Med and has spent most of the day sorting out the latest BA screw-up, including, yes, people who had been told their flights were cancelled when they weren’t.

    My experience (I’m BA Gold, by the way):

    Flying out to AMS on 31 August, then in CW to JNB via LHR for a very, very nice holiday. Couple of nights in decent hotels, three nights in a safari lodge, four in another, then home on 10 September, arrive LHR 11 September, hop back over to AMS, day and a night there, back and all over on 12 September.

    10 September flight has been killed. I received the email while I was, in a supreme irony, in the BA lounge in ORD last night.

    Quandary – do I take the risk of flying out and hoping the strike will not happen, do I cancel everything, or do I try and arrange different flights. Unsurprisingly, everything is booked and it looks like the earliest flights we can out of JNB, in J or F, are from 14 September.

    CluB Med daughter gets on the case and announces she can get three seats in J our of JNB on the September 11. I note that BA says if manage to rebook on a later flight, they’ll pay whatever the extra cost is.

    The three one-way flights are £9,983. It’s worth pointing out that the original return flights from AMS, with car hire thrown in, were 5,459 euros.

    Well, BA says it’ll pay the extra, so I waved the Amex and grabbed them.It means our AMS connection and stay blows out, and I booked the hotel as non-refundable (of course!) but we can live with that and claim off the insurance.

    I assume that if the strike doesn’t happen, then we revert to the original.

    If anyone from BA is reading this, I promise you this: if there is even the slightest attempt to avoid recompensing me for this colossal spend, I will open the gates of Hell.

    Good luck then. I hope you have an audit trail, as all the evidence elsewhere is that BA are not recompensing. The options outlined on their website are:
    a) BA rebooks you on a partner airline
    b) Receive a full refund
    c) Rebook your flight on another time in the next 355 days
    d) Use the value of your fare to fly to a different destination.

    There is no mention of them funding the difference and as they have given notice more than 14 days ahead they owe you no compensation under EC261. In fact in other parts of their Q&A they are referring people to their travel insurer for consequential losses.

    Your other option of course would have been to sit it out in JNB for 3 days (subject to you having no other commitments). For that BA would have been liable for your accommodation and meal costs.

    The only bright spot I can see is you will be able to avoid the wasted time on the AMS hop.


    SimonS1
    Participant

    By the way, something curiously appropriate that even this saga has been exacerbated by a BA IT cock up. In the desperation to get flights cancelled and avoid any EC261 compensation payments it seems BA advised travellers the previous day their flights were cancelled!!

    https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-49460958

    British Airways has admitted it made a mistake when it advised passengers flights were cancelled, and told them to book new ones.
    Passengers have described “confusion” as cancelled flights were reinstated, but only after some of them rebooked.
    Pilots are set to strike next month, but some people with flights on non-strike days were told to rebook, or get a refund.
    BA apologised for any concern caused and said the email was an “error”.
    “We are getting in touch with all those customers this afternoon to clarify that their flight will go ahead as planned,” a spokesman said.
    “We are sorry for any confusion and inconvenience this has caused.”

    Yet another own goal…..I feel really sorry for hard working BA staff on the front line when the credibility of your employer ranks alongside the banks, utility companies and a turd on the nearby pavement.

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    GivingupBA
    Participant

    “They have now booked economy flights with Emirates and they estimate it will cost them an extra £500. If Emirates economy, even if booked only a couple of weeks ahead, is £500 more expensive than BA business class, imagine how cheap BA must have been.”

    I think those numbers just do not add up. Emirates are now quoting 776 pounds economy return to Mauritius – I just checked – and BA Club World is not that cheap to Mauritius. (Unless the passenger meant “Premium Economy” instead of “Business Class”, which I doubt).


    esselle
    Participant

    Alex continues to polish, but it’s not getting shiny!


    capetonianm
    Participant

    You threw out a bit of a challenge there, GivingupBA, so I went back to the article to check and spotted this, which was a caption to the photograph of the unfortunate couple :

    Abby Deem and fiance Jonathan say they saved up air miles and loyalty card points to book their “dream” flights

    which would obviously have reduced the fare.
    Ignoring that, the cheapest business class BA fare I could find was £2677 (backdated to purchase this time last year), and £1470 for PE, compared with about £670 for EK Y for 09SEP/23SEP.

    Sorry for my inaccurate report, but I hadn’t looked at the photo or the caption.

    Regardless of all that, Cruz has failed abysmally to manage the strike, although he may yet pull his nuts out of the fire, and there has been yet another epic failure in IT and/or communications over this.

    It is time for Cruz to take a cruise.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    SimonS1
    Participant

    So I presume the jist of it is their BA flights were paid on mileage (so surcharge and taxes only), now BA has cancelled their flight so they need to buy a ticket on Emirates. Could quite easily be a £500 difference. Not ideal with all the other wedding expenses.


    GivingupBA
    Participant

    Thanks very much for the update, capetonianm, that’s very helpful. And I like “time for Cruz to take a cruise”.


    MartynSinclair
    Participant

    It is easy to say “there must be another way”, but what would you propose?

    For decades the right to withdraw labour and strike has been enshrined in law.

    That is for the likes of PM Johnson, Jeremy Corbyn & the other MP’s to decide. What I find is totally unacceptable are the financial penalties, the travelling public have to suffer, for the employers and employees who are involved in employment disputes.

    Besides the cost I suffered due to CX cancelling my flight a couple of weeks ago (£700) to TiredOldHack 2 who has had to lay out a few thousand pounds with no certainty whether it will be reimbursed by BA. This is very wrong …

    Employers and/or the Unions should be liable for these additional costs ….


    Cedric_Statherby
    Participant

    BA has cancelled their flight so they need to buy a ticket on Emirates

    And this is what is so wrong. Why should an action by BA’s pilots, and the subsequent refusal of BA’s management to deal with it (indeed Cruz seems determined to escalate the confrontation, immediately cancelling flights rather than trying to prevent disruption), mean that passengers – not party to the dispute at all – have their plans ruined and their costs inflated with neither any voice in the dispute nor any means of getting any compensation at all for the extra cost.


    SimonS1
    Participant

    It is easy to say “there must be another way”, but what would you propose?

    For decades the right to withdraw labour and strike has been enshrined in law.

    That is for the likes of PM Johnson, Jeremy Corbyn & the other MP’s to decide. What I find is totally unacceptable are the financial penalties, the travelling public have to suffer, for the employers and employees who are involved in employment disputes.

    Besides the cost I suffered due to CX cancelling my flight a couple of weeks ago (£700) to TiredOldHack 2 who has had to lay out a few thousand pounds with no certainty whether it will be reimbursed by BA. This is very wrong …

    Employers and/or the Unions should be liable for these additional costs ….

    Of course Martyn, it is completely wrong for innocent members of the public to be out of pocket or have plans ruined. But it isn’t just a question of ‘staff shouldn’t be allowed to strike’ – in an industrial dispute there are two sides involved and my view remains that BA should be sat negotiating with BASSA, if necessary at ACAS, trying to do what is best for their customers rather than spending the time cancelling flights to protect their own bottom line.

    Negotiation is of course exactly how the recent Heathrow Airport strikes were avoided.

    An even better solution would be for EC261 to protect people in such circumstances but unfortunately in the area of cancellations the legislation is not very helpful, certainly in respect of compensation. BA knew this and this is why we saw the semi-shambolic episode over the last couple of days, flights cancelled and/or reinstated etc in order to avoid payouts.

    Of course there are other protections such as the right to re-routing “at the earliest opportunity” and for duty of care costs, so the case that has to be made is that the airline was given an opportunity to, and failed to, re-route at the earliest opportunity. With 5 minutes work on Google and a few screen shots it is quite easy to establish that flights are available on Emirates on 10th which was the original date of travel. Whether BA was willing to use EK is not a matter that legislation is concerned with, if BA didn’t reroute at the earliest opportunity then it makes a stronger case for the passenger.

    Of I am sure BA would question whether £9,983 is a fair level of spend, and I can see 3 x business one way flights from JNB to LHR on Emirates on night of 10th September for £4,173 (or to AMS for £4,240). So one might argue it is not necessary to be materially delayed or out of pocket. By the way I say this only as an example not to make a point with TOH, I have no idea what was discussed with BA, only that hopefully the commitment to cover costs is recorded on a call or email somewhere as you know how untrustworthy BA are in such things.

    With the greatest of respect I would see TOH case as somewhat different to yours, I believe in your case the airport was operating at reduced capacity (one runway) due to protests forcing the cancellation of several flights. So Cathay probably don’t see why they should be out of pocket either. That one is a no win situation for anyone, and really a job for your insurer.


    Cedric_Statherby
    Participant

    One thing stands out a country mile – BA have made an awkward situation (for them, that is) far far worse with their cack-handed response.

    BA’s management has repeatedly shown that when faced with a challenge they panic, they think of themselves before their customers, and they then act first without thinking through the consequences.

    It is quite simply unbelievable that BA’s management cancelled so many flights without having first put in place the capacity to handle the inevitable explosion of calls to their call centres. Cancelling flights will of course upset people but they could (just about) claim they had no choice. Not being prepared for the predictable tsunami of calls upsets people far far more and is entirely due to management’s ineptness.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    SimonS1
    Participant

    One thing stands out a country mile – BA have made an awkward situation (for them, that is) far far worse with their cack-handed response.

    BA’s management has repeatedly shown that when faced with a challenge they panic, they think of themselves before their customers, and they then act first without thinking through the consequences.

    It is quite simply unbelievable that BA’s management cancelled so many flights without having first put in place the capacity to handle the inevitable explosion of calls to their call centres. Cancelling flights will of course upset people but they could (just about) claim they had no choice. Not being prepared for the predictable tsunami of calls upsets people far far more and is entirely due to management’s ineptness.

    Agree 100%. Total shambles as the BA leadership rush to protect their bottom line and bonuses. On/off flights and another IT shambles amidst the panic.

    It shows again that BA has been dumbing down its operation to the point where with the slightest breeze the house collapses. Two major IT disasters, a major breach of data protection and now labour issues.

    A good barometer is to look at the BA board on Flyertalk. Normally there are a few hardcore fan boys/girls who would argue the moon was made of plastic if it made British Airways look good. Even they seem to be missing at present……


    MartynSinclair
    Participant

    in an industrial dispute there are two sides

    Wrong – there are 3 sides. The employers have their side, the employees have their side, but the consumers are the ones that suffer the fall out and financial consequences.

    My insurance broker suggests travel insurance is just about the medical cover – anything else is limited and quite frankly under valued in terms of coverage. There is also the argument, why should an insurance company pick up the cost of an industrial dispute.

    If consumers are left out of pocket by significant sums due to an industrial dispute, the unions or employers should be forced to pick up the bill, through their own PI insurers. Call it a consequence of Industrial Action.


    philsquares
    Participant

    Having worked for a US carrier which was once named “Cobra Airlines”, I am extremely familiar with the withdrawal of services or a strike.

    Airline labor law is extremely different in the US as it is regulated by the “Railway Labor Act”. There are good points and bad points about the law from the employee and employer’s points of view. In theory, airline labor agreements never expire but become amendable on a certain date which in the UK/EU would be the expiration date.

    Normally, negotiations begin at least a year prior to the amendable date with the easy pArts being agreed to first. The most tenacious parts are normally pay and working conditions. If an agreement can’t be reached, then both sides or one side can apply for mediated negotiations. If an agreement is not reached, either side can request an impasse be declared. It is not uncommon for the mediator to reject the impasse and send both sides back to talk. Most of the time an agreement is forthcoming. However, if an impasse is declared, then the 30-day countdown begins. At the end of the 30 days, both sides can resort to “self-help” or strike. The airline can apply new contractual conditions unilaterally and the pilots can withhold their services or strike. At my former airline, I am retired now, I went through 4 strikes. The shortest was 1 day and the longest was 5 months. In every case, money was not the issue. It was things such as work rules and other non-financial issues. And in every case, the airline lost more money from the strike than it would have by agreeing to every outstanding issue.

    Airlines are very short-sighted. Our contract was full of work rules which penalized the company (from the company’s perspective) For example, our minimum duty day was 4:15. So if you flew 2:00 hours you got 4:15 pay. That was there to make the company schedule more efficiently. Which it really had a hard time doing. We received full pay and credit for deadheading. The company wanted to continue with the full pay but do away with the credit. So, if the monthly cap was 75 credit hours you could deadhead and it wouldn’t go against your monthly limit. Again, from the pilot’s perspective, it was inefficient. Pilots would rather fly themselves and get pay and credit for their services. Most pilots I know, want to work minimum days and maximum hours. In this case, the company wanted to deadhead 747-400 pilots and this deadheading would add 3 days of work/month. The final agreement resulted in nothing changing and the pilots were happy. You would do a schedule something like DTW-NRT-LAX-SEL-LAX-NRT-DTW. That was a 9-day trip and completed your monthly schedule. It was worth just under 75 hours, IIRC. If you wanted to be anti-social you could stay on DTW/MSP and sleep as if you were in their time zone and you could minimize jet-lag. That trip wants very senior.

    One thing I have come to realize from working for carriers such as SQ and QR is airline management tends to be the same at every airline. If management could get rid of pilots and passengers, they would have a very easy job. Sadly you’d have no airline, but their actions didn’t seem to show they understood that concept.

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