LONDON – Amongst all the travel chaos in the UK, more is ahead as British Airways workers ballot for a pay strike.
This is related to check-in staff with the airline at London Heathrow Airport as industrial action may occur over pay, with British Airways refusing to reverse a 10% pay cut that was imposed on them during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ballot is due to begin on June 7 and will end on June 27, with strikes expected to occur in July if the motion is approved.
If the ballot is approved, then we could see up to 500 staff going on strike as a result.
Graham: Disgraceful from BA…
Sharon Graham, the Unite General Secretary had this to say on the ballot:
“British Airways used the cover of Covid to brutally cut members’ pay. BA has now reversed the pay cuts imposed on management but refuses to do this for our members. This is disgraceful. Unite will not allow our members to be treated as a second-class workforce.
“Our members are rightly furious and ready to take action. A strike by our members will make an immediate impact on the service to customers so I urge BA to get a grip and restore these workers’ pay immediately.
“Unite will be giving its members the union’s complete support until this dispute is resolved.”
BA Bites Back…
AviationSource has approached British Airways for a comment and has said the following:
“We have received notification that some of our customer service colleagues will be participating in a ballot for industrial action.
“This is extremely disappointing. After a deeply difficult two years which saw the airline lose more than four billion pounds, these colleagues were offered a 10% payment for this year which was rejected.”
“Other parts of the organization accepted the same offer acknowledging the position the business still finds itself in.”
“We remain fully committed to talks with our trade unions about their concerns and we hope that together we can find a way to reach an agreement in the best interests of our people and our customers.”
In the statement also, British Airways sent us a couple of key facts, to which they believe the strike won’t be as bad as it is intended.
BA believes this action is “confusing” given the fact that they offered check-in staff a payment of 10% for this year and a further commitment to talk about pay in 2023 as well.
The British flag carrier also said that “this group represents a small number of our workforce and we have contingency plans in place (less than 50% of the Heathrow customer service team)”.
They continued: “The timing of any industrial action is designed to inflict maximum pain on our business and our customers at a time when they too are recovering from the effects of the global pandemic”.
“All other eligible areas of the airline accepted our genuine offer of a 10% pay award this year, including (baggage teams), Engineering, and cabin crew colleagues”.
BA ended by saying that their flights will continue to operate as planned.
Continued Pattern of Bad News for BA…
In April, the airline announced plans to slash hundreds of flights from its network ahead of what is going to be a busy Summer 2022 season.
Then, in woes of their recruitment drive slowing down, the airline had to go as far as adopting a £1,000 sign-up bonus for Heathrow & Stansted cabin crew, in order to get more bodies through the door.
On top of this, the airline had to join the likes of easyJet in canceling flights due to staff sickness, which was then followed by an overall IT failure at its Heathrow Terminal 5 base.
In a more negative piece of news as well, it was revealed that a pilot within the company was jailed for lying about his flying experience in interviews.
What remains clear is that the in-fighting within BA looks to continue, especially as unions continue to ramp up pressure over pay increases.