Unite members working as cabin crew for British Airways’ mixed fleet today (August 11) urged the airline to get around the negotiating table to avoid continued legal action and the cost of ‘wet leasing’ aircraft to cover striking workers.
The call follows a members’ meeting involving the workers who are involved in the long running dispute over pay and the sanctioning of striking workers. Today sees the 66th strike day of the dispute with strike action scheduled to stretch through the August bank holiday until Wednesday, August 30.
Warning that its members remained as determined as ever, Unite called on the airline to use the money it was spending on ‘wet leasing’ aircraft from airlines such Qatar Airways to solve the dispute.
Pointing to its legal action on behalf of mixed fleet cabin crew who have been sanctioned for taking strike action, Unite went on to warn British Airways that it was storing up future legal costs because of its ‘belligerence’.
Sanctions have included the removal of bonuses and ‘incentives’ worth hundreds of pounds in addition to travel concessions from striking workers.
“It would cost British Airways mere pennies compared to its soaring profits to solve this dispute,” said Unite national officer Oliver Richardson.
“Yet still the airline insists on spending millions on wet leasing aircraft and the prospect of mounting legal costs to defend low pay and punishing workers on poverty pay.
“Our members are clear in their determination,” he added. “We would urge British Airways to get around the negotiating table and hammer out a resolution to this dispute to avoid the disruption and financial cost of continued strike action.”
Since 2010 all British Airways new cabin crew employees join what is called ‘mixed fleet’, where despite promises that pay would be 10 per cent above the market rate, basic pay starts at just £12,192 with £3 hour flying pay. Unite estimates that on average ‘mixed fleet’ cabin crew earn £16,000, including allowances, a year.