Unite hails ‘fantastic’ support as British Airways can...

Unite hails ‘fantastic’ support as British Airways cancels flights

11 January 2017

Britain’s largest union, Unite hailed support for a 48-hour strike by British Airways’ ‘mixed fleet’ cabin crew as ‘fantastic’ today (Wednesday 11 January).

It has emerged that the stoppage, which started yesterday (Tuesday 10 January), has led to British Airways cancelling at least 52 flights today, taking the total number of cancellations to and from Heathrow during the 48 hour strike to around 100. 

It coincides with today’s roll-out of the new M&S food range on British Airways’ short haul flights following the withdrawal of inclusive in-flight meals. It will see ‘mixed fleet’ cabin crew operating out of Heathrow selling the same food, but being paid a basic starting salary which is up to £6,000 less than customer assistants in M&S Greater London stores when they get their pay rise in April. 

Earlier in the day, Unite members working as cabin crew for British Airways’ ‘mixed fleet’, handed in a letter to Marks & Spencer headquarters asking the retailer to call upon British Airways to stop paying poverty wages to sell M&S food.

Commenting Unite national officer Oliver Richardson said: “Support for the strike from cabin crew and the public has been fantastic. ‘Mixed fleet’ cabin crew have shown a determination and demonstrated to British Airways that they will not melt away or submit to the airline’s confrontational tactics.  

“British Airways needs to get its head out of the sand and realise that this is a group of workers who are not afraid to take further strike action in their fight to be paid a decent wage.

“We urge British Airways to engage with Unite to meaningfully address levels of poverty pay which are causing financial worry and distress to the people who make this airline hugely profitable.” 

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.