‘To the shame of Bri­tish Air­ways’

Cabin crew hold two-day strike over pay

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Salina Pa­tel salina.pa­tel@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

HUN­DREDS of Bri­tish Air­ways (BA) cabin crew have walked out in a row over poverty pay.

Picket lines were set up around Heathrow Air­port as the 48-hour walk­out got un­der way on the morn­ing of Tues­day Jan­uary 10.

The strike was an­nounced last week after the air­line re­fused talks to re­solve an on­go­ing dis­pute, union Unite said.

BA’s Heathrow con­tin­gency plans in­cluded merg­ing a small num­ber of flights to and from the air­port while all flights to and from Lon­don Gatwick and Lon­don City were to op­er­ate as nor­mal.

BA told getwest­lon­don: “De­spite the in­dus­trial ac­tion, all our cus­tomers will be able to travel to their des­ti­na­tions as planned.”

It fol­lows the sus­pen­sion of a planned two-day strike that was due to be held over Christ­mas Day and Box­ing Day.

A spokesper­son for BA said on the first day of the walk­out that flights are de­part­ing “as planned to­day”.

On day two –Jan­uary 11 – of the in­dus­trial ac­tion cabin crew marched over to Marks & Spencer HQ to hand over a let­ter call­ing on the retailer to de­mand BA stops pay­ing “poverty wages” to sell M&S food.

It co­in­cided with the roll out of the new M&S food range on short haul flights across BA.

How­ever, M&S said this is not some­thing they will com­ment on as it is an is­sue for BA.

An of­fer was put on the ta­ble be­fore Christ­mas which sus­pended the two-day planned strike ac­tion over Christ­mas Day and Box­ing Day to give mem­bers time to vote on the of­fer.

How­ever the of­fer was re­jected by 93% of Unite mem­bers and Unite said the air­line has re­fused to re­turn for talks.

Unite said it has had a surge in mem­ber­ships, tak­ing its num­bers to more than 2,900.

Unite na­tional of­fi­cer, Oliver Richard­son, said: “This is a low paid work­force strug­gling to make ends meet on wages which are among the low­est in the air­line in­dus­try.

“It is to the shame of Bri­tish Air­ways, a com­pany which prides it­self as a ‘pre­mium brand’, that mem­bers of its loyal work­force are forced to take sec­ond jobs to make ends meet or turn up to work un­fit to fly be­cause they can’t af­ford to take the day off sick.

“Re­fus­ing to mean­ing­fully ad­dress the con­cerns of ‘mixed fleet’ cabin crew and in­stead seek­ing to poi­son in­dus­trial re­la­tions through con­fronta­tion does pas­sen­gers a dis­ser­vice and will lead to plum­met­ing morale.

“We would urge Bri­tish Air­ways to lis­ten to our mem­bers and ad­dress their le­git­i­mate con­cerns over poverty pay.”

Unite es­ti­mates that on av­er­age “mixed fleet” cabin crew earn £16,000, in­clud­ing al­lowances, a year.

The strike started at 12.01am on Tues­day Jan­uary 10.

PICKET LINE: BA crew at Heathrow Air­port strike against ‘poverty pay’

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