Three months ago, we brought you news that British Airways cabin crew had voted in favour of strike action in their dispute over pay and benefits with the company. That strike was due to take place on the 16th of June, running through the 20th, and did indeed take place.
Those strikes were in relation to benefits not being reinstated for staff who took place in industrial action, and it not appears that British Airways staff are ready to strike once again.
Today, British Airways cabin crew have announced that a fresh round of strikes will take place, to coincide with the busy summer holiday period, when many families are heading away on their holidays.
It’s estimated that 10,000 passengers are expected to be affected by the new two-week industrial action by mixed fleet cabin crew, in what will be a significant escalation in the long-running pay dispute.
The action is scheduled to begin on July 19th and run for 14 days. That’s just three days after they complete a 16-day stoppage, and is intended to force BA back to the negotiating table. However, BA have said that they expect that only one in two hundred flights will be affected by the new strike action, and that 99.5% of their fleet will still be running. That’ll be a reassurance for customers who contact British Airways, looking for confirmation about their summer flights.
Unite, the union who represent British Airways crew, said that this latest action underlines the determination of its members to continue campaigning for a better deal. National officer Oliver Richardson said: “Today’s announcement of a further escalation, underlines the determination of our members in their fight for better pay and against British Airways’ bullying behaviour.
“We are seeing strong support for the ongoing strike action.
“The time and money British Airways is spending on wet leasing aircraft and bullying striking cabin crew are resources which could easily settle this dispute.
“It’s high time British Airways stopped spending millions defending low pay and its bullying approach by negotiating a settlement to this long running dispute.”
In regards to easing aircraft, Unite have launched legal action. It’s a challenge to the Government’s go-ahead for the least of nine aircraft from Qatar Airways during current stoppage, which started last weekend. The union have already staged a protest outside the London head office of Qatar Airways, and Mr Richardson said: “The wet leasing of Qatar Airways’ aircraft should not have been approved by the Government or been sought by British Airways.
“We believe it is not only in breach of European regulations and non-compliant with civil aviation safety, but has also driven a coach and horses through British Airways’ own corporate social responsibility policy, which is not worth the paper it’s written on.
“British Airways customers will be alarmed at Qatar Airways’ record on sex discrimination and the lengths British Airways is going to try an undermine lawful strike action.”
For their part, BA are saying that strikes are unnecessary, and that Unite should allow their members to vote on the deal put to staff by BA two months ago.