Unite/BASSA to Strike 20/3 for 3 Days, 27/3 for 4 DaysBack to Forum
I’m used to being called much worse!
To be fair to VK I’m sure it’s a typo which should read “But”!! – the letters are adjacent and devices with predictive text can be tricky. On the iPhone, the Gaelic word “Slainte” meaning “Cheers” (literally “Health”) gets converted to “Elaine” – with obvious suspicion amongst recipients of my message!!
I also have a shorthaul connection at LHR on Tuesday 23rd. My domestic leg is from Glasgow, does BA have crews & aircraft based there? – I recall the engineering facility being closed – or do the crew of the last flight from LHR the previous day overnight and return the next morning. Not sure if it makes any difference to whether the flight would operate or not anyway. Saving grace might be it doesn’t run on each of the 3 strike days, so the crew and aircraft from Friday evening will still be there on Tuesday morning!
Come on ye BA!!13 Mar 2010
The ‘n’ key and the ‘b’ key are adjacent to each other. Clearly, the word should read ‘but’ and not ‘nut’.
The YouTube piece from Willie Walsh came across, to me at least, as an excellent communication; strong content delivered with conviction and authority.
However, I do worry that some of the power of his message is compromised by unnecessary cutaways to ‘Blair-hands’, and by using the backdrop of a calm, spacious, modern corporate office to discuss ‘the most significant crisis that this company has ever seen’.
It would give detractors far less ammunition if any future communications were directed and produced with a slightly more customer-focussed eye. This piece looks a little too much like internal corporate comms, which though highly professional and well-scripted, may not present customers with an image that they associate with the realities of flying with BA in 2010, even when operations are running ‘normally’.
Next time, a gate lounge at Glasgow, Edinburgh or Newcastle, between flights, might be a little more resonant. Just a thought, and only because I wish the company well.13 Mar 2010
VK, normally I agree with your advice, but not this time.
For now you have the opportunity to re-book and take a refund for travel anywhere within the 11+ days of interruption. If you wait until you see the schedule, you will then only be able to cancel if you know your flights are affected. We all know that there is going to be a huge knock-on effect. Will 747s to HK etc really fly on Fridays 19 & 26? If so, will they return empty? Will 747s return the days after the strikes, or will they have to wait for new crew etc? I do fully agree that the main LHR cancellations will be domestic and short hauls like CDG & BRU.
If you are on a cheap fare, as I was, re-book if you can, then cancel before the revised schedules are announced.
I fully support the fact that BA should manage the airline, not a union living way back in the past, but I don’t think that management have gone about it as well as they could.
If the dispute is really about a crew compliment of 15 reducing to 14, and CC are really only worried about service levels, then they should have been asked to work for 14/15 of pay and perks, to maintain the service levels, with a similar adjustment on all crew reduced flights.13 Mar 2010
Well, I cannot predict the future, but if, and it’s a big if, this industrial action ever materialises, BA has a wet leased fleet of smaller aircraft to operate shorthaul journeys from LHR.
Domestic is highest risk for cancellation, and I did book my upcoming Domestic on bmi for that very reason.
Things should get back to normal very quickly on 23rd, and if JimBannerman takes my advice and rebooks to LCY there is zero risk of disruption. Can you connect to your onward shorthaul destination from LCY?
Personally, I would probably try and delay a day just to be on the safe side.13 Mar 2010
reading the previous comments, many people seem to think that crew are overpaid people who should not get paid extra for working weekend, nights, Xmas…
One of the main issue in the current dispute is the creation of the New Fleet, it will mean that current crew will have their most profitable routes taken away to this New Fleet and bit by bit, this fleet will grow when the current ones will start disappearing.
You will find some of the conditions regarding this new fleet and just have a think if working under such conditions, whether you will have on-board professional people who are committed to their jobs or just 20 years old taking the job for a couple of years to enjoy “their holidays”.
Will you think that BA will be the premium airline of choice when you are attended to by people who will be so overworked that they won’t be bothered at all and leave within a couple of years as it is currenlty the case in Gatwick.
BA seem to have spent a lot of money into making a great PR campaign and making believe a lot of people (as seen on this forum) that it has not a hidden agenda.
How would you feel if your boss told you that he/ she will start recruiting people on a much lower basic and working conditions and knowing that your post will dissapear in the long term. Would you really agree to it?
Think about that!
What would New fleet look like?
• New Fleet will exist as a totally separate fleet to all existing fleets
• New Fleet with have its own routes – both long and shorthaul
• New Fleet will operate to reduced crew complements
• Routes will be transferred across from existing LHR fleets as soon as BA can crew them
• New Fleet will have its own negotiating body
• Cabin Crew on New Fleet with have separate terms and conditions
• Cabin Crew on New Fleet will work to basic Scheme
• Cabin Crew on New Fleet will have no flying agreements
• Cabin Crew on New Fleet will have minimum rest at base and
• Cabin Crew on New Fleet will have scheme minimum days off i.e.
one day in seven off. Including time off down route, no double
• Cabin Crew on New Fleet will have minimum statutory annual leave
• Cabin Crew on New Fleet will stay in minimum spec Hotel, probably
at the Airport
• Cabin Crew on New Fleet will have NO seniority and no bidding for
• Cabin Crew on New Fleet will have their “performance” determined
by their manger before this is paid
• Cabin crew on new fleet will have no annual increases based on
length of service increments, they will receive only a flat rate of
• “Performance” will be determined on factors such as sickness,
general attendance, customer satisfaction, punctuality, uniform
• Flying allowances will be based upon an hourly rate resembling LGW
• LGW hourly rate is now taxed at 65%
• There will be no other variable payments
• Basic pay will equate to market rate plus 10% – This is expected to
be around GBP11,000 for main crew and GBP20,000 for the single
• There will only be one paid grade of supervisor on all aircraft both
long and short haul
• There will be rostered GROUND duties
• There will be no redeployment agreement for any New Fleet crew
• All future recruitment will be in to New Fleet ONLY
• There will be NO TRANSFER RIGHTS for existing Cabin Crew at LHR or LGW in to New Fleet
• Gatwick Cabin Crew may no longer transfer in to existing LHR Fleets
• New Fleet contracts will contain the bare minimum of employment
• New Fleet employee policies will be based upon a minimum statutory code of practice (including discipline, grievance, sickness, maternity and special leave)
• Staff Travel policy for New Fleet crew is yet to be determined
(Remember: No Seniority)14 Mar 2010
lets be fair here. Cabin Crew is not a highly skilled job, highly trained.. yes, but not high skill. It should be crewed by people working there for 3-4 years then moving on. They have there fun travelling the world, and then move on before they burn out and become the 20+ year Dragons that we have all seen out there.15 Mar 2010
If the situation you describe above, marky, is that bad, and if better terms and conditions and pay were available elsewhere, then from a cabin crew member’s perspective the right thing to do would be to look for a job elsewhere.
Alas, in BA crew’s case, there are no better packages for the same work on offer for the majority of staff, and especially the most senior ones who have the most to lose from these new T&Cs/losing their “most profitable” routes.
Sadly it is in many cases these senior BA cabin crew who are asking those lower in the ranks to strike effectively on their behalf and possibly lose staff travel, to preserve their own seniority based benefits.
Existing staff are simply being asked to work in a different way, not to take a pay cut (it is BASSA/Unite which is suggesting a cabin crew pay cut, not BA Management, who rejected this suggestion).
New staff will work under new fleet T&Cs; better I think you will agree than closing down the whole shorthaul operation to be restarted by FlyBe or Easyjet, without TUPE or other protections, which is what will certainly happen if these changes are not made.
And it’s absolutely right that newly hired people are paid the current going market rate for the work they do. I expect them to be better remunerated and have marginally better working conditions than those of a low cost carrier.
BUT frankly, as a customer, and from the perspective of corporate travel policies, that is irrelevant.
Travelling has become commoditised and most peoples’ and companies’ primary concern, now more than ever, is keeping costs low.
If that means lower pay, then unfortunately, that is the way the market will determine salaries.
The oil price also plays a part and also this pressure on costs is caused by the excessive APD taxes which Gordon Brown has introduced and imposed on the flying public, which are out of all proportion to any environmental impact, and specifically penalise premium business class travellers.
A decent seat which converts into a bed and more pleasant cabin environment, coupled with proper IFE, means the individual influence of crewmembers, while still important, is not as important as it was twenty/thirty years ago when many of these T&Cs were first established in the days of more lavish food service, technical delays, and little else to pass the time other than visiting the bar and eating.
I have been perfectly happy with Easyjet crewmembers on my three flights with that airline; no noticeable diminution in service vs. shorthaul BA crews IMHO, so I just don’t buy the argument that lower pay = dreadful service.
BA’s Gatwick crews who you believe to be “underpaid and overworked” are some of the best in my experience.
If BA employees have a gripe about creating a new low pay structure, they should ask their Union reps to lobby Unite for the Government to change its APD policy (another huge rise is planned for November 2010) and give some of that money back to those who work for BA.
But I doubt Unite will be highlighting that issue with the current government, seeing as Jack Dromey ( Dep Sec. Transport and Gen. Workers Union) is married to Harriet Harman, Dep Labour Leader.
The odious Charlie Whelan is Unite’s Political Secretary, and also Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s right hand man.
Thankfully, Lord Adonis has his head screwed on correctly and has called out the Emperor’s New Clothes which BASSA/Unite are pushing.
BA crewmembers are some of the best in the business, and work very hard.
But they are not irreplaceable.
Crew have been duped into a false sense of entitlement by BASSA/Unite which, largely in the interests of its most senior and long serving cabin crew members, is endangering the livelihoods, salaries and non-contractual travel perks of more junior staff.
As anyone who has had friends or colleagues made redundant in the past year knows, Unite’s intransigent approach is entirely out of step with current economic reality.15 Mar 2010
As my flatmate works for BA (very junior crew), I receive info from the other side.
From what I understand Unite is as bad too. However, I would be quite annoyed too if I signed a contract and found out that my work would gradually decrease until there are no flights for me and would not have any choice but leave or move to a new fleet with totally different conditions.
The problem is you have on one hand a company and CEO who does not give a damn about its employees (and this can be applied to lots of blue chip Co) and is concerned about making shareholders happy as well as receiving a good bonus, and on the other hand employees who are fighting to make a living.
And once again you will see the typical where the CEO is earning a fortune and the employees peanuts (perhaps they should have a Look at the John Lewis Partn for some advice).
Being cabin crew is a lifestyle choice and why would you have to leave if you enjoy your work.
At the end of the end, everybody is looking after their own interest: company making money, crew keeping salary and conditions, pilots after their pensions (hence the reason they want the company to get back profit soon)…
I don’t understand either why London Underground, Royal Mail or Civil servants staff fro example do not get the same exposure and criticism when they go on strike as BA crew (perhaps their companies don’t spend as much money in PR campaign).
At the end of the day, we are all very selfish and look after own little interests, and wathever pressure BA staff get from oustide, good on them for fighting for their rights and not letting their employers going back to 1950s working conditions.15 Mar 2010
A balanced assessment, marky.
However the issue is more stark than you set out. Your comment about the private sector is very apposite.
If BA does not make these changes, it will cease being profitable, and management will keep on being distracted from the matter in hand by managing a Union, rather than managing an airline.
Without a structurally profitable airline, brought about by efficiencies as well as cost cutting, there will be no employer against which BA Cabin Crew can negotiate, as their contracts will be voided, pension entitlement lost and UK plc a poorer place.
Public sector employees simply don’t have these commercial realities against which to contend.15 Mar 2010
Marky many of the things that are happening at BA have happened in many industries in the UK over many years, even back in the 80’s new staff were taken on in organisations who would never acheive the T&C’s of senior staff.
VK is right when he says LGW staff are some of the best. What would your flat mate prefer, working for BA or Easyjet or Ryanair?15 Mar 2010
Excellent comments, which the national newspapers would do well to publish – along with Gordon Brown’s words that the proposed strike is ‘unjustified” and “deplorable”.
Let’s hope that the Prime Minister and Lord Adonis continue to publicly stand behind BA and WW. I wonder if Harriet Harman would like to echo the PM’s words?15 Mar 2010
For those interested, the flight details for the first 3 days of action have been uploaded & updated into the BA system.
I can only imagine plane spotters are going to have a field day at T5 this weekend.
Edit: BA have a full statement at http://bapress.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/bapress.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_sid=QCdPEWWj&p_faqid=770615 Mar 2010
A quick survey at least of the HKG flights shows these as cancelled so VK’s assessment that 777’s only will fly is correct.
Minimum crew on a 747 is 12 to meet CAA regs.
As a matter of interest what is the normal and CAA numbers for a 777 ?15 Mar 2010