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 to 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
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
The UNION will demand a side-letter to reinstate flight benefits, is my thinking. Alot of flight attendants commute to work, with every carrier. I bet it wont go to the membership without this stipulation.
Would be interested to see quite how many BA cabin crew take BA flights in order to commute – we’re not a very big island, after all. The sh1te that the UNITE leaders were spouting after this latest offer was announced was trying to make a pitying plea that the family and friends of affected BA cabin crew were being unfairly targetted by BA’s refusal to reinstate travel perks.
And, not that I like BA in any way, I’m sure England would have faired a bit better in the World Cup had they flown BA rather than Club18-Virgin.
I was on a strike affected flight from IAD-LHR, where the flight attendants were breaking the strike to go to work. A particularly friendly check in person (working directly for BA) at IAD told me that they had heard very little from BA and could very well expect more cabin crew strikes soon. On my LHR – India sector, most of the cabin crew were based at the Indian city.
BA will find ways to get lower cost labour. The question is how long will it take to achieve along with the benefits of their Iberia merger. Hopefully they will hold their own against Emirates, Qatar, and the like in the long run.
Interesting how in other businesses with unions you don’t hear about them having problems (or rarely) or have workers treating customers badly because they are unhappy with their company. But that’s not the case with airlines, they always have labor issues that are front page news, effect their customers, and have workers treat the customers badly because they are unhappy with their job. Why is that I wonder?
Cranky: flickr link b0rked.
whoops, it’s fixed