Published: Fri, December 16, 2016
World | By Tasha Manning

Cabin crew at BA vote to strike over Christmas

Cabin crew at BA vote to strike over Christmas

At the centre of the dispute are cabin crew who have joined the airline since 2010 - a total of 2,500 workers in BA's so-called "mixed fleet".

"Our members have overwhelmingly voted for strike action because British Airways" pay rates are indefensible and the crew are at breaking point'. According to Unite, despite Mixed Fleet crew earnings were advertised between £21,000 and £25,000 ($26,500-$32,000) a year, but actual wages started at just over £12,000 ($15,000) plus £3 ($4) hourly flying pay.

Unite said its members backed walkouts by four to one, threatening of disruption to flights.

Unite argues that its members are not paid a decent salary and roughly half of the cabin crew take second jobs to pay the bills.

British Airways has expressed its "extreme disappointment" over the decision by cabin crew to threaten strike action over the Christmas to New Year period. "The airline's boss Willie Walsh has pocketed EUR€8.8 million and the parent company IAG reported profits of EUR€1.4 billion", Unite regional officer Matt Smith said.

He added that low pay was not just indefensible but a safety issue for aviation.

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Reuters quoted British Airways as responding in a statement that it was "extremely disappointed that the union is creating uncertainty for our customers", and that the airline remained "focussed on resolving this issue as quickly as possible without any disruption to customers".

"Not surprisingly, the crew have rejected a 2 percent pay offer and on-board customer service managers are furious", Unite stated.

"Crew simply can't afford to stay".

"We urge British Airways to avoid this dispute and do the right thing by both the frontline staff and the travelling public, by engaging with Unite". Mixed fleet Unite represents about 15pc of our cabin crew.

Rival European airlines Deutsche Lufthansa AG (LHA.XE) and Air France-KLM (AF.FR) have suffered under strikes as they have sought profitability improvements.

BA said it has proposed "a fair and reasonable pay increase" worth 7 per cent over three years, in line with pay at rival carriers.

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