British Airways cabin crew based at Heathrow plan to hold a 48-hour strike starting on Jan. 10, threatening disruption to flights, after suspending previous plans to walk out over Christmas.
About 2,500 members of BA’s mixed fleet – which is predominantly made up of younger and lower-paid cabin crew have poorer terms and conditions than some longer-serving staff – rejected a pay offer from BA shortly before Christmas.
Trade union Unite said its members rejected the offer by 7-1 and the action was suspended after talks at the conciliation service Acas.
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National officer Oliver Richardson said: “British Airways is needlessly provoking strike action by refusing to extend the mandate of the strike ballot and allow meaningful talks to take place.
Instead of listening to why its ‘mixed fleet’ cabin crew rejected the offer negotiated at Acas, British Airways has sought instead to try and bully a workforce of young men and women who are trying to eke out a living on poverty pay.
Such game-playing and a desire to seek confrontation is not only a great disservice to passengers, but shows an unwillingness by British Airways to engage in constructive industrial relations.
Unite remains hopeful that a negotiated settlement which meets our members’ aspirations can be achieved and would urge British Airways to engage constructively in meaningful talks to address poverty pay.”
On the other hand, a BA spokesman said the airline was “extremely disappointed” Unite had “once again chosen to target our customers”.
He said; “We are extremely disappointed that Unite has once again chosen to target our customers. Our proposal for our mixed fleet cabin crew reflects pay awards given by other companies in the UK and will ensure their reward levels remain in line with cabin crew at our airline competitors. It is also consistent with pay deals agreed with Unite for other British Airways colleagues.”
BA however said that ‘mixed fleet’ Unite represented 15 percent of its cabin crew and that the airline was working on a contingency plan to ensure its customers reached their destinations.
In a statement, it said that it would give more details on Jan. 6 once it had finalized the contingency plan.