Striking cabin crew enlist Marks and Spencer favourite...

Striking cabin crew enlist Marks and Spencer favourite Percy Pig in their battle against poverty pay

20 January 2017

Striking members of British Airways’ mixed fleet cabin crew will be enlisting the help of Marks and Spencer’s Percy Pig in their fight against poverty pay tomorrow (Saturday 21 January) outside the retailer’s Marble Arch flagship store (458 Oxford Street, London, W1C 1AP) from 13:30.

Since Wednesday 11 January mixed fleet cabin crew have been selling Percy Pig, the M&S favourite soft gum, along with M&S sandwiches on a basic salary, which come April, will be up to £6,000 less than customer service assistants receive in the retailer’s Greater London stores.

Dressed in Percy Pig costumes and brandishing placards, the members of the Unite union will be asking members of the public to join them in urging the retailer to call upon British Airways to stop paying poverty wages to sell M&S food.

The photo opportunity and public engagement, comes on the final day of a three day strike by British Airways’ mixed fleet cabin crew and will see them take their message to a number of M&S stores in central London.

Basic full-time salaries for British Airways’ mixed fleet cabin crew start at £12,192 compared to the approximate £19,000 M&S customer service assistants will earn in Greater London stores after a pay boost in April. 

Commenting, Unite national officer Oliver Richardson said: “Mixed fleet cabin crew work in safety critical roles 36,000 feet up in the air while ensuring the comfort of passengers with the sale of snacks and food from M&S.

“It is simply unjustifiable that they should be paid a basic salary which is up to £6,000 less than M&S customer assistants who are selling the same products as they do in store. If M&S can do the right thing by its staff and pay them above the living wage, then why can’t the highly profitable British Airways?

“As a partner of British Airways and a company which recognises the importance of paying above the living wage, we urge M&S to ask our national carrier to follow its example and pay mixed fleet cabin crew a decent wage.”

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.