Posts Tagged ‘Passengers



10
May
10

British Airways plans fresh strikes

NEWS
British Airways plans fresh strikes

Monday, May 10, 2010

NEWS Unite said its members at the airline would take 20 days of action following their rejection of the company’s latest offer aimed at ending the long-running dispute.

Cabin crew will walk out from May 18 to 22, May 24 to 28, May 30 to June 3 and June 5 to 9, which will cover the school half-term holidays and a bank holiday.

Unite ordered four five-day strikes from May 18 to June 9 which will affect fans flying to the World Cup in South Africa.

Leaders of British Airways cabin crew will on Monday consider calling fresh strikes after the rejection of a deal aimed at ending their long-running dispute.

Members of Unite voted by 81 percent in a 71 percent turnout not to accept a proposal from the airline which would have ended a bitter, year-long row.

Union activists will press their leaders to call a lengthy strike following a series of stoppages in March which caused travel chaos for passengers and cost BA tens of millions of pounds.

British Airways accused Unite of ‘orchestrating’ rejection of a ‘very fair’ offer it said addressed all the concerns raised during 14 months of talks.

Representatives of the cabin crew will meet Unite’s joint general secretaries, Derek Simpson and Tony Woodley, to discuss their next move.

The two union leaders said: ‘British Airways management should take note of their own employees’ strong rejection of their offer and immediately address the outstanding concerns.

‘They should make no mistake that Unite is fully committed to supporting our members in furthering this dispute if no resolution is found.’

British Airways said in a statement: ‘British Airways is disappointed but not surprised that Unite has clearly orchestrated a rejection of a very fair offer that addresses all the concerns raised during 14 months of talks.

‘We urge Unite to put an end to this unnecessary dispute and focus on the best interests of its members. There can be nothing positive to be gained from further strikes.

‘The majority of our crew came to work during the previous strikes and demonstrated their firm commitment to our customers, despite their union’s callous disregard for the traveling public.

‘Unlike other businesses and airlines, we have avoided compulsory redundancies. Cabin crew face no pay cut or reduction in terms and conditions, and remain the best rewarded in the U.K. airline industry.

‘It is not too late for Unite to put an end to this dispute and support our recovery from two consecutive years of record losses and return to sustained profitability and job security for its members.’

More than 7,000 union members took part in the latest ballot, with over 5,600 rejecting the deal and 1,375 voting in favour.

Union officials said the ballot result showed the continued ‘strength and courage’ of the cabin crew, despite claims of threats, bullying, sanctions and loss of earnings.

Cabin crew representatives said they had not ‘dissected’ the proposed deal because it had not been recommended, but officials said there was a ‘complete lack’ of any detail.

The original dispute was over pay, jobs and conditions, including staffing cuts on flights, but the latest offer was rejected because British Airways has not fully restored travel concessions taken away from crew who went on strike, and because over 50 union members have been suspended.

Five people who went on strike have now been sacked, including the branch secretary of the cabin crew’s union section, the British Airways Stewards and Stewardesses Association (BASSA).

‘Your union is looking for a reasonable compromise to allow the threat of any industrial action to be lifted and ensure that all of us can move on and put this behind us.

‘Subsequent recriminatory actions and public statements of intent have now made this increasingly difficult and unlikely.

‘An insistence that people who participated in lawful and legal industrial action are punished is simply not helpful in finding a solution to what are already difficult issues,’ said a message from BASSA.

‘There is still time to avoid unnecessary disruption and anxiety to both cabin crew, fellow colleagues and of course, our customers.

‘We sincerely hope that this opportunity is not squandered but by now we think we all know that it will be. This is a company that is now not prepared to settle for anything less, and are now literally hell bent on the total destruction of your union to pave the way for its low-cost vision of the future.’

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29
Mar
10

British Airways: A few strikes don’t make a spring of discontent

NEWS
British Airways: A few strikes don’t make a spring of discontent

Monday, March 29, 2010

NEWS

British Airways cabin crew have launched a four-day strike, forcing the cancellation of numerous flights as they stage their second walkout in a week over an increasingly bitter dispute.

BA said about 70 % of its long-haul flights and up to 55 % of its short-haul flights were operating on Saturday during the strike by the Unite union, even more than during last weekend’s three-day action.

The airline has said more than three-quarters of its passengers – over 180,000 out of 240,000 – will still be able to travel, and chief executive Willie Walsh said it’s doing “everything possible” to make this happen.

In a YouTube message issued late on Saturday, he added: “We’re absolutely committed to resolving this dispute with the trade union and returning British Airways to normal operations as soon as possible.”

Walsh has warned the airline could fold in a decade unless the changes to working practices he wants are carried out, but Unite says his “slash and burn” approach would lead to a two-tier workforce and a reduced service.

Negotiations between Unite, which represents BA’s 12,000 cabin crew, and the airline broke down on the eve of the first strikes.

A BA spokeswoman said on Saturday that London Gatwick and London City airports were operating as normal and enough staff had turned up to the airline’s main hub at London Heathrow to crew the revised timetable.

She dismissed as “rubbish” Unite’s claims that passengers on six fully loaded flights had to disembark due to a lack of crew, and that flights were leaving with reduced crew and well under capacity.

Walsh visited Heathrow airport’s Terminal 5 to talk to passengers who had their travel plans disrupted, and said he found customers “very positive”.

“At the same time I am deeply sorry for those customers who have had their holidays and their plans disrupted,” he said in his video message.

Outside Heathrow, striking cabin crew set up picket lines and were joined by staff from Iberia, the Spanish airline which is in talks to merge with BA.

The union has claimed the cost to the airline of the strike action will be $149.722 million.

By contrast, BA has said last week’s walkout cost $10.479 million a day and that an assessment of the cost of the full seven-day action could only be made after it was finished.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph on Saturday, Walsh said changes to working conditions are vital to the company’s survival.

“We are trying to transform the way we operate because the industry is changing and the economic conditions have changed so radically that we’ve got to change,” he said.

“We’re doing this to make sure BA still exists in 10 years. If we don’t do this, BA won’t exist in 10 years.”

BA said last month it expected to notch up a record loss in the current financial year due to weak demand for air travel.

Walsh also denied accusations that he was trying to break the union, after the claim was made in a letter from 116 industrial relations experts from universities across Britain, published in The Guardian on Friday.

“It is clear to us that the actions of the chief executive of British Airways… are explicable only by the desire to break the union which represents the cabin crew,” the academics’ letter read.

The union has also complained of intimidation, and one cabin crew member who asked not to be named said: “I’ve been with the company for 21 years and they’ve never imposed on us. They’ve always sought an agreement, until now that is. Now there is an atmosphere of fear which I’d never seen before.”

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has condemned the strike but, just weeks before a general election, faces accusations of a weak response from the main opposition Conservatives because Unite is a major donor to his Labour Party.

Cabin crew strike
Updated information including some cancellations for flights departing on and after 30 March 2010.
For more information: All The Latest Advice For British Airways Passengers GO
• Source(s): U.K. Press & British Airways
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