Day one of a three day strike by cabin crew working for British Airways’ mixed fleet was being strongly supported today (Thursday 19 January), with striking crew members joining picket lines at Heathrow Airport to protest over poverty pay.
Drawing massive support from airport workers and the public, the members of Britain’s largest union, Unite were joined by shadow chancellor John McDonnell MP, shadow business secretary Clive Lewis MP and Unite general secretary Len McCluskey.
This week’s 72 hour strike is the second wave of strike action to hit the UK’s national carrier in as many weeks with the Heathrow based British Airways mixed fleet cabin crew staging a two day stoppage from 10 -11 January.
Commenting Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “It was fantastic to see such strong support for our members in British Airways mixed fleet at Heathrow. Their courage and spirit in their fight for decent pay is undimmed despite the shamefully confrontational stance of British Airways.
“British Airways should be under no illusion about their determination to see movement on poverty pay. Mixed fleet cabin crew work tirelessly for pennies to provide a world class service and play a vital role in making British Airways a success.
“With British Airways’ parent company forecasting massive annual profits of around £2.3 billion, it is clear the airline can afford to recognise their hard work and pay a decent wage.
“I urge British Airways to heed the anger of its mixed fleet cabin crew and work with Unite to address its pitiful levels of pay which force people to take second jobs to make ends meet.”
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.