Will the BA Flight Attendant Fight Finally be Settled?

There’s a glimmer of hope out there for British Airways fliers. It appears that the airline and its flight attendants are getting very close to an agreement that would finally end all these on and off strikes. I think I speak for just about everyone when I say “It’s about damn time.”

If you’ve flown BA in the last few months, you undoubtedly know about this issue. The flight attendants and management have been butting heads over a new contract. BA wants Flight Attendant BA Fightto reduce its costs, and the flight attendants are fine with that . . . as long as management does it the way the flight attendants want. As you can imagine, that hasn’t exactly worked.

So there have been a series of strikes which have screwed fliers over the past few months and more were expected. This has to be hurting BA’s advance bookings, so you’d think there would be tremendous pressure to settle on both sides. Apparently not. Management is holding strong (with the approval of most of the public, as far as I can tell) as are the flight attendants.

Regardless, everyone wants to see this thing end, and we might be getting close. BA has put a “peace offer” on the table, and the union is letting membership take a look and then vote on it. That means that we’re unlikely to see more strikes until at least after the summer.

So will this last offer be accepted and the fight finally end? It’s unclear. One thing that is clear is that the union will not be recommending this:

The fact that the travel is not back in full makes the possibility of a recommendation nil. It makes the certainty of a yes uncertain.

The union also put out a press release slamming this offer.

Ah yes, the travel benefits. It seems like a matter of pride at this point. Before the first strike, BA CEO Willie Walsh told flight attendants that they would lose their flight benefits if they struck. Sure enough, they lost them as soon as they went on strike.

Since that time, BA has held firm. The flight attendants were told what would happen, and it did. My guess is that BA will keep holding firm on this. The rest of the offer seems to be something new and an improvement for the crews over previous offers, despite some of the things union leaders may be saying. But if they vote no, then I’m not sure they’ll have jobs in the long run.

At least we can all rest easy that flights should go as scheduled for the rest of the peak travel season. That’s saying something, I guess.

Original photo via Flickr user Tony the Misfit

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