Striking British Airways cabin crew get MPs backing

Striking British Airways cabin crew get MPs’ backing

11 July 2017

WHAT: MPs join striking British Airways cabin crew in solidarity photo-call
WHEN: Wednesday 12 July 2017, 13:00
WHERE: Old Palace Yard, Westminster, SW1P 3JY

MPs will be joining striking cabin crew from British Airways’ mixed fleet outside parliament tomorrow (Wednesday 12 July) to show their solidarity with the workers who are involved in a long running dispute over pay and the sanctioning of striking cabin crew.

The photo opportunity, involving Unite members of British Airways’ mixed fleet and a giant banner, coincides with the tabling of early day motion (EDM) by MPs expressing concern over low pay and British Airways penalising striking members of cabin crew. The EDM also raises concerns over the ‘wet leasing’ of aircraft by British Airways from Qatar Airways (see notes to editors).

Tomorrow sees the twelfth day of a 16 day strike which finishing at 23:59 on Sunday 16 July. A further 14 day strike is scheduled to run from 00:01 hours on Wednesday 19 July 2017 to 23:59 hours on Tuesday 1 August 2017.

Commenting Unite national officer Oliver Richardson said: “Unite members working for British Airways’ mixed fleet will be taking their message to parliament to seek the backing of MPs in their battle against poverty pay and punitive sanctions.

“There’s already been fantastic support from politicians who have grown increasingly concerned about the bullying and belligerent behaviour of our national carrier, British Airways. 

“With support for the strike remaining strong and the chorus of concern growing, it’s time British Airways stopped spending millions on wet leasing aircraft to defend low pay and penalise its workers.

 “We’d urge British Airways to heed the message of the MPs’ early day motion and negotiate a settlement to this long running dispute.”  

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.


For further information please contact Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869. 

Notes to editors:

EDM: British Airways Mixed Fleet Cabin Crew Pay Dispute and BA Wet Leasing of Qatar Airways

That this House supports workers in British Airways Mixed Fleet cabin crew in their current industrial dispute over pay; condemns any company action penalising staff taking industrial action; acknowledges the significant pay package of £6.5 million to the boss of the airline's parent company, International Airlines Group; contrasts that package with reports that the starting basic pay of a member of Mixed Fleet cabin crew is roughly 533 times lower than that figure and thus below the living wage; notes the lack of parity in allowances to cover food between Mixed Fleet cabin crew and pilots; raises concerns over the environmental and passenger safety implications of the wet leasing of Qatar Airways during the period of industrial action; raises further concerns that Qatar Airways has been found in the past to be guilty of systemic workplace sex discrimination, which included female cabin crew being automatically sacked when becoming pregnant, as well as prohibiting women from being dropped off or picked up from work by a man other than their husband, father or brother; and calls on British Airways to engage in constructive relations with Unite to resolve the dispute.

  • 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.