Unite cabin crew members working for British Airways ‘mixed fleet’ announced a 48-hour strike starting Tuesday 10 January today (Tuesday 3 January), after the airline refused to extend the mandate of the strike vote to allow for talks to resolve an ongoing dispute over ‘poverty pay’ to continue.
Warning British Airways of needlessly seeking conflict, Unite said its members were legally required to take industrial action within 28 days of voting for it, unless the airline agreed to an extension.
The move follows repeated attempts by Unite to hold meaningful talks with the airline after ‘mixed fleet’ cabin members voted to reject a pay offer negotiated at the conciliation service Acas, before Christmas. A two day stoppage scheduled for Christmas day and Boxing day was suspended to allow Unite members to vote on the offer.
Rather than engage in further talks following the offer’s rejection, Unite accused British Airways of instead seeking to unpick the progress made towards addressing ‘poverty pay’ during Acas talks.
According to communications seen by the union, British Airways initially informed cabin crew they could receive the original inferior pay deal this month if they declared they were not a member of a trade union. Subsequently this offer, which was rejected by 93 per cent of Unite members in ballot earlier in 2016, was extended to all ‘mixed fleet’ cabin crew.
Commenting Unite national officer Oliver Richardson said: “British Airways is needlessly provoking strike action by refusing to extend the mandate of the strike ballot and allow meaningful talks to take place.
“Instead of listening to why its ‘mixed fleet’ cabin crew rejected the offer negotiated at Acas, British Airways has sought instead to try and bully a workforce of young men and women who are trying to eke out a living on poverty pay.
“Such game playing and a desire to seek confrontation is not only a great disservice to passengers, but shows an unwillingness by British Airways to engage in constructive industrial relations.
“Unite remains hopeful that a negotiated settlement which meets our members’ aspirations can be achieved and would urge British Airways to engage constructively in meaningful talks to address poverty pay.”
For further information please contact Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869.
Notes to editors
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.