British Airways facing strikes from union for pay raise

Ken Iwelumo (GFDL 1.2 , GFDL 1.2 or GFDL 1.2 ), via Wikimedia Commons

LONDON – The union has, with an overwhelming majority, voted in favour of strike action.

The strike

The members of the British Airways union Unite have voted with an overwhelming majority of 94.7% in favour of strike action.

The strike is a response to an ongoing dispute with BA over the 10% pay cut made during the pandemic. According to the union, they will give the airline a short window of time to announce the staff’s increase of pay by 10% before the union will announce a strike which will, knowingly, cause a huge disruption to flights during the summer.

Pay cuts

Unite national officer for aviation Oliver Richardson said: “The problems British Airways is facing are entirely of its own making. It brutally cut jobs and pay during the pandemic even though the government was paying them to save jobs.”

“In the case of this dispute, they have insulted this workforce, slashing pay by 10 percent only to restore it to managers but not to our members.”

“BA is treating its loyal workforce as second-class citizens and they will not put up with it a moment longer. Strike action will inevitably cause severe disruption to BA’s services at Heathrow.”

“The company has a short window of opportunity to reinstate our members’ pay before strikes are called. I urge BA not to squander that opportunity.”

Severe impacts

If the union proceeds with its strikes, it will have a severe impact on the operations of the airline. Since the summer holidays start in July, it is expected that many people would go fly to other destinations, hoping to have a post-COVID vacation.

With the eventual strike, however, many people are now expected to experience major cancellations, which is not helping the current situation at Heathrow. The airport is currently also facing a major challenge with its own staff shortage.

It is for that reason that it could be seen as the union taking the airline hostage in some way. BA does not want to massively cancel flights just because the staff is unhappy, yet the airline may or may not want to increase their costs by raising the wages.

It is to neither party’s advantage to plan a strike, as the airline might fire many of the staff as they disrupted the operations, or they would not get any public support if they chose to forward it, not that they need it for their cause, however.

On the other hand, the union knows the exact position it’s in, as they are aware that they will disrupt the entire ops, which means that they are able to play ball if done just right of course. It’s for that reason their timing is very effective. It will be an interesting “fight” between both parties and the outcome will be very interesting as well.

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