BREAKING: British Airways Cabin Crew union threatening strike action

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Last week, there was good news for industrial relations at British Airways when they agreed a deal with BALPA, the pilots union.

This week, thing have taken a sour tone with Unite the union that represent BA’s Engineers, Cabin Crew, Ground and Call Centre Staff.

BA’s legacy cabin crew have been those most likely to be most affected by the proposed changes at BA. As well as the threat of up to 12,000 workers being made redundant at the company, the current proposals to fire and rehire staff on new contracts could result in a loss of up to 30% of their total package. Mixed Fleet cabin crew are on a different package and some could actually gain slightly from the proposals. This current offer is much better than the original proposals which Unite said could lead to crew losing up to 55% of their package. 

Unite had initially and very strangely refused to take part in any talks which could have potentially saved jobs. Recently there appears to have been dialogue between Unite and BA which has not gone well. This resulted in Len McClusky, Unite’s leader, writing to Alex Cruz in a rather unprofessional and angry letter.  As well as commenting on Alex Cruz’s arrogance and calling their policy “despicable”, Mr. McClusky called BA’s policy ” a scorched earth strategy with a ‘Fire and Rehire’ approach”. According to the letter, BA have drawn a deadline of 7 August for talks to conclude before they implement their proposals. Many MPs have been critical of the proposals including Huw Merriman, the chair of the Transport Select Committee. 

BA only recently resumed any sort of meaningful flying schedule and even this will be under further threat from the re-introduction of the UK’s quarantine from Spain. This is likely to knock consumer confidence as the government has threatened there are likely to be further changes if necessary.

In the letter, Unite threaten that they will move “towards industrial action with immediate effect.” If you have flights booked, I would not be concerned. Mixed Fleet are represented by a different part of Unite or other unions and many are not even members. Assuming that the majority of Mixed Fleet work, it is unlikely to have much impact unless they can’t get crew back from furlough in time.

The current split of staff is roughly:

  • Eurofleet: 1,853
  • Worldwide: 6,382 
  • Mixed Fleet: 6,027 

The real impact will be on customers’ confidence in booking with the airline. While I support the crew to an extent, there needs to be some sort of compromise as the pilots have done. Threatening industrial action will only do more harm to BA and most likely result in more redundancies and pay cuts if it continues. It’s a shame that BA crew are represented by a union that does not always seem to be acting in a professional way to help the crew make the best possible deal in very difficult circumstances.

Here is the full letter:


7 Comments on "BREAKING: British Airways Cabin Crew union threatening strike action"

  1. I think it’s unprofessional for BA to openly fire and rehire so they can cut existing commitments.

  2. You would have hoped that someone would have corrected his grammar and punctuation before sending out such a vile letter. Fancy having to negotiate with such a loathsome individual.

    • It’s action by engineers, check-in staff and baggage loaders, who are also included in ‘fire and rehire’, that would cause me more concern.

      And, stripping back the letter, it’s telling me that positive progress was being made in discussions only to be dismissed further up the chain.

      My ‘Voucher’ folder in Outlook might be getting fuller 🙄

  3. The current management has long seen the cabin crew as its easiest target for cuts.It’s a shame as I think most of them do a fantastic job.
    A bit rich of Len to call anyone else arrogant. Did he honestly think his political choices of the last 5 years would strengthen his members’ rights?

  4. British Airway are acting terribly they should be stripped of Heathrow slots

  5. I agree a compromise like the pilot union deal should be reached- but whilst the measures for the pilots are temporary, BA is proposing a permanent change to contract for crew. The temporary measures similar to those agreed with pilots proposed by union were rejected by BA

    • That is true but the difference is that the legacy cabin crew are extremely well paid compared to the industry average when you take into account the allowances and the actual hours they work, so it is probably inevitable that a change will have to be made long term. The more of a pay cut they take, potentially the more of them that can stay in a job. Hopefully, they come up with a better deal for the crew but the union may have to take the pilot’s view and try and save as many jobs as possible even if it means a higher pay cut than they would like. Sadly with the turn travel has just taken with Spain, BA really are in a very serious situation. IATA has now revised its forecast to 2024 before we return to pre-covid levels. It’s a horrible situation but they have to be pragmatic. And I say that having taken about an 80% reduction in income from this blog due to the crisis.

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