Just when travellers thought they had enough to contend with, British Airways staff today announced the result of a strike action ballot, voting overwhelmingly in favour of a strike. Members of the GMB and Unite unions were balloted and both voted around 95% in favour of the strikes. A total of 1200 staff were balloted.
When are the strikes?
The union have to give 2 weeks notice of the strike so the earliest they could strike will be 7 July. Obviously, the union may decide to delay any action to cause maximum disruption. The unions have inferred that they may delay their action to the start of the school holidays. The GMB said “Industrial action dates will be confirmed in the coming days but are likely to be during the peak summer holiday period.”
So we don’t know exactly but if you are travelling in the next couple of weeks you should be OK. According to The Telegraph, unions are indicating they will strike on the last two weekends of July to “maximise leverage”.
On the plus side the longer they leave a strike, the more likely they are to reach agreement beforehand. It also gives British Airways time to train up non-customer-facing staff as they have already been using some of them to ease congestion at peak times.
What are they striking about?
The staff are in dispute with BA due to pay as they claim that a 10% pay cut imposed on ground staff by BA during the COVID-19 pandemic has not been reinstated. They also say that check-in staff did not receive a 10% bonus that was given to other BA staff.
Which BA employees are going on strike?
The employees that will be striking are ground staff who belong to Unite. This is less than 50% of their Heathrow-based team in customer-facing roles. They have other ground staff that have not been balloted.
How will it impact flights?
It will only affect flights to and from Heathrow, not Gatwick or London City. Given that many employees that do not usually work in the terminals have been helping out there due to staff shortages, the chances are that BA will still be able to run some sort of service. However, it is likely that short haul flights will be the hardest hit. BA usually prioritise long haul flights and are likely to try and consolidate routes with more than one flight a day. If they believe that the strike will go ahead, it is likely that BA will cancel flights well in advance (>14 days) to avoid paying EU261 compensation.
What do British Airways say?
A statement from Brititsh Airways says “We’re extremely disappointed with the result and that the unions have chosen to take this course of action. Despite the extremely challenging environment and losses of more than £4bn, we made an offer of a 10% payment which was accepted by the majority of other colleagues. We are fully committed to work together to find a solution, because to deliver for our customers and rebuild our business we have to work as a team. We will of course keep our customers updated about what this means for them as the situation evolves.”
Do other Oneworld partners use BA ground staff? In particular, I am asking about Iberia and Japan Airlines.
Unless it’s changed Iberia use BA staff at T5. I don’t think any others do.
Actually It has. IB ‘sacked’ BA from it’d GHA role for them at LHR a few weeks back. Essentially refusing to renew the long standing contract they had in place.
Happy to find you a reputable source if you like Michele but from memory I read that on Business Traveller which is pretty reliable on such things.
Agree that, as far as I know, IB were the only OW carrier that used BA as a GHA at LHR.
That would be an interesting source if you do have it. The IAG intra personal/personnel relationships are interesting to watch as they evolve.
Now you mention it that does ring a bell!
Will this impact BA flights “operated by Qatar Airlines”, Michelle?
It won’t affect codeshare flights, so when it’s an actual Qatar flight but bought through BA. It will affect any wet leases such as the Finnair or Iberia Express ones.
All our corporate clients are requesting us to book them on American Airlines operated flight. They running an excellent operation and AA got their own staff . If you guys have any plan to travel USA , Central America , South America I recommend you to book American..AA flights seats are selling like crazy. And another good news we hear today..guess who gonna handle Iberia in Terminal 3 ??? Its American Airlines . They got some happy bunch people and they are very keen on their on time departure etc …so Iberia chose American . I think it will work very well . They are moving together to T3 on on 12th of July . So ba strike wont affect IB at all !!!
Remind me how much of a rise did the IAG chairman trouser last month?
– Just under £5million or an almost 50% rise
Why the poorest staff have to accept a pay cut which with inflation amounts to 20% I don’t know and whilst I wouldn’t normally support strikes.
It seems price gouging customers isn’t the only financial exploitation
I agree John. I don’t generally believe in strikes as I’d like to think there are other options for industrial action before it gets to that. But BA have treated them badly in this circumstance. Given they are short staffed and this is creating a lot of bad press and customer ill-will you’d think that this is a very short sighted decision by BA. More staff leave, no one wants to work for that amount and the cycle continues!
My wife is travelling via JAL to Heathrow in Aug. Is this likely to impact her?
No only the airlines mentioned.
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