Britain’s largest union, Unite called on British Airways to enter talks at the conciliation service Acas and reach an agreement to avoid further strikes next week in a dispute over poverty pay involving the airline’s mixed fleet cabin crew.
Today’s (Friday 10 February) call came as Unite members working for the national carrier’s mixed fleet announced they would be striking for four days from 00:01 on Friday 17 February to 23:59 on Monday 20 February.
It coincides with the penultimate day of a three day strike which finishes tomorrow (Saturday 11 February) and follows three days of strike action earlier this week which ran from Sunday 5 to Tuesday 7 February.
Unite understands that yesterday British Airways issued a ‘gold command’, which usually is reserved for times of crisis, such as the 2010 ash cloud event. Meanwhile this week’s action along with two earlier stoppages has led to the cancellation of flights and the airline chartering, or ‘wet leasing’, aircraft from other airlines such as Titan Airways, Vueling and Thomson Airways to cover striking cabin crew.
Commenting Unite national officer Oliver Richardson said: “British Airways should focus on addressing poverty pay in its mixed fleet, rather than continuing to waste hundreds of thousands of pounds on chartering in aircraft to cover striking workers.
“Despite the bully boy tactics, the threats and the sanctions, our members in British Airways mixed fleet have continued to show great resolve in their fight for better pay. Mixed fleet cabin crew are the future of British Airways and deserve better.
“We would urge British Airways to join us at reconvened Acas talks and negotiate a settlement to avoid the cost and disruption of a further four days of 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 an hour flying pay. Unite estimates that on average ‘mixed fleet’ cabin crew earn £16,000, including allowances, a year.
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.