LONDON – It remains clear that the 13% pay rise for British Airways staff will set the boundary industry-wide as the cost of living crisis continues to bite.
Earlier this week, it was announced that employees at the British carrier would be given a lump sum worth 5% of their wages this month, followed by an additional 5% increase in September, and then 3% in December.
Sharon Graham, general secretary at Unite, said: “By standing strong with Unite, our members have compelled BA to table a pay rise that goes toward compensating for the pay cuts suffered during the pandemic.”
“There is still some way to go for workers at BA to trust this business again, given the hostile manner in which they conducted themselves during the pandemic. Once again, Unite’s focus on improving jobs, pay, and conditions have delivered for our members.”
Oliver Richardson, national officer at Unite, added: “Like most other workers, our members in BA are struggling with the cost of living crisis. This additional pay uplift secured by the union will immediately help offset the significant financial pressure they are facing.”
A Big Win for the Unions…
This increase means that wages for workers are up there with post-pandemic levels, if not more, which is a big win for the unions.
With the cost of living crisis, wages are going to be a big thing, not just in aviation, but across all other industries across the United Kingdom.
For example, inflation is causing electricity and gas bills to increase to £2,800 by October and could go up as high as £5,000 in April next year.
But with this big win by Unite, this is going to set the boundary not just industry-wide, but also country-wide as well, as there is a lot of political criticism being thrown at the likes of the UK Government and Ofgem for not doing enough to stem this inflation.
Other Airline Workers Will Be Watching On…
It remains clear that this particular situation at British Airways will have been watched by other airline workers that are employed by different airlines.
This could encourage further revolt and strike action that we have seen across some carriers in the last few months, with Ryanair being one of those airlines in particular.
For the British Airways staff, this is a significantly large increase. With this now set as a case study for post-pandemic pay negotiation, this is bound to make other carriers sweat as the focus on returning to profitability intensifies.
This will be something to watch, especially as we delve further into the rest of this year, as well as 2023, when inflation begins to cause disgruntlement over affordability.
Even last night, 14,600 pilots who work for American Airlines are seeking a 20.4% pay rise over the next three years, with Ed Sicher, the President of the Allied Pilots Association (APA), stating that the airline has “been running my pilots ragged”.
The APA has proposed that a 10% raise would occur in the first year, 5% in the second, and 4% in the third, including retroactive pay.
Ryanair: No More €10 Flights, Fares To Increase…
Inflation doesn’t just attack the people. It also attacks the airlines too. With the Ukraine Crisis being a key driver in this, as well as the after-effects of COVID-19, Ryanair has stated that they won’t be doing any more €10 flights.
On top of that, the Irish low-cost carrier has mentioned that fare prices may need to rise to an average of €50 from €40. Michael O’Leary, the airline’s boss stated the following on BBC Radio 4 last week:
“I don’t think there are going to be 10 euro [$10.33] flights anymore because oil prices are significantly higher as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine”.
“We think that 40 euros need to edge up towards maybe 50 euros over the next five years. So the £35 average fare in the U.K. will rise to maybe £42 or £43″.
“There’s no doubt that at the lower end of the marketplace, our really cheap promotional fares, the one euro fares, the 99 cent fares, even the 9.99 fares, I think you will not see those fares for the next number of years.”
“Ryanair will still have millions of seats available at 19.99, 24.99, and 29.99. Now that will still be a fraction of the high fares that BA and our other competitors are charging.”
On a purely speculative note as well, especially with loads of strikes taking place on the Ryanair side, this could provide the pretext for improved pay conditions for their workers down the line.
It may not be as generous as British Airways, but this new case study is going to put extreme pressure on low-cost carriers like Ryanair and easyJet to make this a sure thing.
It remains clear that double-digit wage improvements will be a key focus for unions across the UK and across Europe, and the rest of the world, as inflation continues to bite.
This cost of living crisis is going to plunge the world into the worst recession since 2008, so the main concern and worry from employees and people at work is how they are going to afford the essentials.
Looking ahead to the next 6-8 months, it’s going to be interesting to see how the airline industry is going to react, especially with there bound to be more strikes towards the end of this Summer as well as in the busy Winter seasons too.
We are more than likely on our way to some form of oblivion that is going to hinder any chances of recovery forecasted for next year and beyond.