Members of Unite working for British Airways’ mixed fleet yesterday (July 19) announced a further 14 days of strike action amid warnings that the airline’s attempts to bribe people into not striking would fail.
The news of the further strike action, running from 00:01 Wednesday 2 August to 23:59 Tuesday 15 August, comes on the first day of a 14 day strike and, in effect, means British Airways mixed fleet cabin crew will be on strike for the next four weeks.
Today sees the 46th day of strike action in the dispute over pay and the sanctioning of striking workers. It follows a 16 day stoppage that ran from Saturday 1 July to Sunday 16 July.
Pointing to a deepening resolve among members of mixed fleet, Unite warned that those cabin crew, who were covering striking workers, would be getting ‘perilously close’ to their legal number of flying hours and wouldn’t be able to legally fly in the coming weeks.
Under aviation regulations cabin crew cannot clock up more than 100 flying hours during a rolling 28 day period.
“Attempts by British Airways to bribe cabin crew into not striking with a £250 bung represents a crude attempt to sow division and will ultimately fail,” commented Unite national officer Oliver Richardson.
“Such actions by British Airways will only serve to deepen the resolve of our members and the support they are receiving from the public and politicians.
“Covering cabin crew are perilously close to their legal flying times and could ultimately be pushed over the number of hours they allowed to fly in the next 28 days.”
He added, “Rather than spending money on crude bribes and millions on ‘wet’ leasing aircraft to defend its low pay and bullying behaviour, it’s time British Airways started talking about resolving this dispute which will further tarnish its brand.”
As part of the dispute, Unite has launched legal action against the government’s decision to give the go-ahead to the ‘wet lease’ of nine Airbus aircraft by British Airways to cover striking cabin crew strike. The union argues that the lease of aircraft and cabin crew from Qatar Airways breaches European regulations.
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 an hour flying pay. Unite estimates that on average ‘mixed fleet’ cabin crew earn £16,000, including allowances, a year.