New British Airways strike dates announced

British Airways announced last night that the Unite union has announced new strike dates for next week.

‘Mixed Fleet’ cabin crew will walk out on Tuesday 10th and Wednesday 11th January in protest over pay.

The latest news on the strike disruption can be found on this page of ba.com.

‘Mixed Fleet’ represents around 15% of cabin crew members, so the BA schedule will not be totally decimated.  British Airways said last night that “We are looking to ensure that all of our customers, with bookings on those two days, will travel to their destinations.”

What I understand (ie guess) this to mean is that:

all flights from Gatwick and London City will operate as they do not use ‘Mixed Fleet’ crew

all long haul flights will operate

short haul routes with one flight per day will operate

frequencies will be chopped from routes with multiple flights, with customers given the option of cancelling or moving to another service on the same day

British Airways A350

BA has said that it will publish its contingency plans on Friday.  You should NOT contact British Airways at this stage as you will not be allowed to change or cancel your booking unless your ticket type allows it.

The last strike, planned for Christmas Day and Boxing Day, was called off.  What happened was that Unite supported a revised offer from the airline and said that it would put it to the ‘Mixed Fleet’ members.  The offer has now been rejected by staff despite the support of the union and so strikes are back on the agenda.

As a reminder of the background to the strike, of the 4,000 members of ‘Mixed Fleet’, only 1,500 took part in the ballot.  80% of those of who voted were in favour of the strike.

According to a BBC report:

According to a recent Unite survey, half of Mixed Fleet staff have taken on second jobs to make ends meet, and more than two-thirds were going to work “unfit to fly” because they could not afford to be off sick.

It said 84% reported experiencing stress and depression since joining BA because of their financial circumstances.

Some even admitted sleeping in cars between flights, because they could not afford the petrol to get home.

Salaries for mixed fleet crew are reported to start at £12,000 per annum plus £3 per hour of flight time.  Average pay is reported to be £16,000.  These crew – hired over the last five years or so – operate totally separately from other cabin crew and are on substantially poorer packages than earlier recruits.

You can keep up to date with flight cancellation and rebooking news via the strike page of ba.com here.

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Comments

  1. OT
    How do I check Avios credit for flights for BA household account.
    This is for my kids on our Iberia flights over Christmas.
    Also do I need to claim points on Aadvanatge manually as even though in booking I provided Iberia with my AAdvanatge number it was not printed on boarding pass and miles have not been credited yet.

    • You would need to retroclaim the AA credit via the AA website, there is presumably an online form.

      You can individually log in to your kids BA accounts. Alternatively, log into the head of the HHA and you will see, under their personal Avios total, a separate total for the HHA.

  2. …and I bet they get told all the time the job must be a dream flying to all those exotic locations. £16,000 in an area of the country with high cost of living – I can’t blame them.

    • Yet they still get thousands of applications every time they are recruiting so it can’t all be bad, many people are willing to do it.

      We complain when they try to reduce costs on board, complain when they try to reduce staff costs and complain when their prices are too high. Surely if we want a high level of service, well paid staff we need to choose that with our wallets, unfortunately we are not willing to do that in any great numbers and so the errosion will continue.

      • I’ve no idea what they’re promised in recruitment and interview. I look at from the area of business I work in. I train people for a highly desired and hugely oversubscribed role (300 applicants for 1 job advertised for 1 week most recently). Unfortunately we pay the least probably in the country but are based in the South East. I have no say in recruitment but only training.

        All that means is we have an incredibly high turnover of staff with those trained either burning out and leaving the profession or moving to another area to do the same work for literally thousands more. People are willing to do more if remuneration is fair.

        It means we have overall an inexperienced workforce, which the management doesn’t mind as new employees are paid far less. We can all see the need to have experienced dedicated workers. They can’t.

        BA command higher prices than many LCC airlines, so there’s money there surely to change this attitude.

      • Oh please. If we were talking about BA struggling to break even then you’d have a point.

        But BA is operating on margins never seen before in its history, with a windfall of low oil prices, and yet they still seem fit to screw their lowest paid staff.

        • the real harry says:

          you have conveniently forgotten:
          massive pension deficit needs to be addressed
          ageing fleet needs to be replaced
          over-paid 85% of staff on the old contracts but heavily unionised so can’t be right-sized

          • And you don’t address the issue of screwing over the lowest paid staff….

          • Last time I checked, firing people purely because you now consider them overpaid is not legal :-)

            BA regularly waves big voluntary redundancy packages at the ‘old contract’ crew members. Quite a few who are fed up with where the airline is going take it, but realistically if you are on £40k as senior cabin crew you won’t easily match that elsewhere.

          • the real harry says:

            (Leo) the lowest paid staff were offered a pay rise that Unite considered fair so recommended
            the staff are of course within their rights to withdraw labour if they do not themselves consider the % increase fair
            but I’d like to see modern strike rules brought in where (for example) a clear majority of all unionised staff must vote in favour of a strike before that strike becomes legal
            – currently abstainers don’t count, which in my eyes is wrong, most of them would be voting no if they were’t scared of being victimised by more militant colleagues so this equates to a bad strike decision heavily influenced by bullying & intimidation

        • But the oil price is (probably) only temporary and is the cause for the record profits. however pay is permenant. If they started to pay based on money made hedging oil prices they would soon be making redundancies when the price goes back up.

      • Rob Sorry but that sounds very much like a BA apologist talking. Their basic pay is £12k a year, you cannot live on such poverty pay. They then get £3/hr for flying so on an 10 hour return sector they get a further £60. If that is the full extent of their pay then that is shocking.
        Its not that people object to paying higher fares, BA fares ex LHR are by some way the most expensive in western Europe, they also have fees on redemptions bookings even when the operating carrier does not. The CEO is grossly overpaid as are many of the senior board and as others have pointed out they are making margins that were previously unheard off. Time to do the right thing and pay properly, I think we have all had enough of being told that only the rich can get richer

        • If these staff members feel they’re worth more money then they can always resign and go and work for an employer who’s willing to pay them more if they can find one. 1200 people handing their notice in tomorrow would send a far stronger message to BA management than an occasional strike.

        • Not an apologist, Just fed up of hearing people complain.

          Yes BA flights cost more than Easyjet flights but as Easyjet pay c.10,000 basic this would already appear to be reflected. Also BA must subsidise the legacy contracts. Personally I would love to see higher wages and better conditions but we need to be realistic. Legacy airlines are already losing out to LCC when they are twice as expensive if they stopped making cut backs then no one would choose them when they are 5 times as expensive.

          I agree that the CEO is probably overpaid, but again if he took a pay cut, even 50% it would unlikely make more than a blip of difference to the wages of the flight crew.

          • BA and easyJet do not compete, except out of Gatwick. Let’s be honest, the money lives in West London – in general – and Heathrow will always be the most convenient airport. I don’t even know why BA is fighting over the scraps from the bargain bucket brigade.

            A sensible strategy would be to offer a premium short-haul product so that those people who pay £350 for a day return to Frankfurt on Lufthansa switch across to BA. That is a better idea than trying to encourage more £39 each-way pax.

            You don’t see Waitrose running around claiming that it needs to compete with Aldi so it will start selling its stuff out of cardboard boxes and scrap 80% of its lines. There is a market that Waitrose can get and it serves them.

            That is what HFP does, to a certain extent. I could dumb down this site very easily and it might increase readership – but those new readers are unlikely to be in the market for Amex Platinum cards or whatever else I can monetise. I’m happier with 25,000 well paid London professionals, which is effectively what the readership is.

        • Lady London says:

          @Paul based on your above figures then cabin crew flying 40 hours per week are getting, say, another £6,000. Still not good, and ridiculous if they are all having to live anywhere within reach of London. But a lot better than £12K per year. Perhaps they may be claiming other allowances also.

          I am deeply disturbed by what globalisation is doing to lower and even middle-paid people in the West right now. I’m also tired of Britain being run for the benefit of the owners of assets and capital and the workers’ share getting worse. Whilst those in power continue to be hypocritical about it and effectively say to the workers “take it or leave it then”. But I’d wager most of the affected crew are effectively on a lot more than the £12K figure you mention.

  3. Concerto says:

    But they’re so well off, IAG could afford to pay their staff a bit better. That’s worse than what I got from opera houses in east Germany! And east Germany is much cheaper to live in than London.

    • the real harry says:

      IAG are not remotely well off as a company, they are just recovering from being considered a basket case, see my comment above

      • “IAG are not remotely well off as a company”

        British Airways and Iberia’s parent company IAG reported a 64% rise in yearly pre-tax profits to €1.8bn (£1.4bn)

        Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-35662763

        • the real harry says:

          British Airways has missed the regulatory deadline for agreeing a plan to fill its multibillion pound pension deficit, because of a legal dispute over increased payouts for retired workers.By June 30, the airline was meant to have agreed a way of making good the funding deficit in its two main pension schemes, which stood at £3.3bn in 2012.

          But, on Tuesday, its parent company, International Airlines Group, revealed that this deadline had not been met…
          British Airways is currently making contributions of about £300m a year to plug its scheme deficits.
          https://www.ft.com/content/12e0a5e6-42a1-11e6-b22f-79eb4891c97d

          and how much do you think it will cost to replace the ageing fleet?

          You need to look at the wider financial picture

          • Lady London says:

            Planes are leased anyway and a bit like cars, I gather a lot of the time they don’t actually end up always being paid much for, if leases are done smartly.

            As I’ve mentioned before I have NO pity for any large company that has closed its final salary pension scheme, or robbed it by using enhanced pension payouts or early retirements with pensions, to stuff the pension scheme with the cost of redundancies. This was frequently done by large company pension schemes that I know of, in past years. In other words, pension schemes who robbed other workers and future workers by taking money out of the pension scheme to fund redundancies and severance packages.

            I have NO sympathy for any large company that now says they’re underfunded, as I watched so many of them do that in the past. Or they disregarded sound investment advice and the company took “pension holidays” and didn’t keep paying in, in good years, so that liabilities to pay pensions could still be met in the future by balancing good years with bad years and changes in conditions. So now pension schemes are bleating that they are underfunded? Tough.

          • Depends on the airline. Easyjet for instance own 189/257 aircraft as at 30 Sep 16 with relatively low (as a size of SFP) borrowings.

        • But a huge chunk of that cash then has to fund the pension deficit and capital expenditure. I guess if you don’t want them to replace planes ever, then yes it’s quite a big profit

      • @trh
        takes one to know one! :-)

  4. Despite my support for this action I think they have blown it in terms of impact. The strike over Christmas would have had a bigger impact and the TU should have seen this and pressed accordingly. BA offered more as they saw the impact such action would have but now they may have the upper hand at a time when load factors are generally lower.

    • BA’s contingency was to not cancel a single flight… Its the quietest day of the year and they have many crew standing spare.

      The revised pay offer was only marginally better, hence why Unite didn’t recommend it

  5. I really wouldn’t use the salary figures quoted by Unite! BA have internally published they average salary (they are refusing to make this a public issue), they have also offered Unite access to the raw data, but unite have not taken this offer up.

    I know one crew member of 75% hours, who earns £18k and full time crew who earn more.

    Unite did not recommend the revised offer, but did put it to an electronic vote (one that had no checks on who you were and didn’t limit the number of times you could vote).

    BA have offered the original pay rise (2% backdated to April) to non-union members who can apply to have it backdated and applied from January pay. If any better deal is reached they will get this too. Apparently, BA say, they can not offer the original deal to Unite members because they have already rejected it and BA needs Unites permission to offer it again.

  6. Andi Hawes says:

    I’m flying in from GVA the night before on the last flight landing around 2345 on 9th into Heathrow… you think it will be affected? i know strike starts 10th but you knoiw how these things have a Pre and Post affect…

  7. Slightly O/T…

    Heathrow are supposed to have reduced their charges on domestic flights. I had a look at BA from LHR to MAN and I can’t see any difference to before. Has anyone seen any price drops yet?

  8. the_real_a says:

    Could someone please suggest a fair salary for cabin crew please. Genuinely curious.

  9. There are huge challenges in setting fair pay in the airline industry.

    The amount that different airlines pay pilots varies a lot more than people may expect. If you were to compare BA to Monarch and then to some of the East European carries you would see big differences – when mostly skilled pilots are internationally mobile, however as per other areas in the airline industry those with the legacy contracts are the winners now.

    For Cabin Crew I think it is fair that everyone gets a basic salary of £18-20k at least. Any top ups should be on top of this, but a basic salary for working 35-40 hours a week is essential. The miscellaneous top ups which only then take you close to £18k should be allowed as your headline wage as per contract is often what will affect what you can borrow etc.

    No wonder BA staff get more and more grumpy these days as extremely hard to be based in LHR with that kind of salary and UK house prices/rents. I took a Silk Air flight in Asia the other day and the staff were so nice and polite – however they probably have company/government subsidised housing so can live well…

  10. I confess to having little knowledge of the pros and cons of this strike but I hope we don’t get 1 of BA’s 5.01 pm Friday announcements when many like me won’t be able to make alternative arrangements for our travel next week,

  11. Slightly off-topic: I’ve just done a BA booking for two people, using my Amex, and I saw that the surcharge was …£10. I though this was going to be slashed to a percentage charge (1%). The total price for the ticket was £364.00, but part paid a £120 discount with avios, bringing it down to £244 – and then another £10 on top of that.

    I though there was going to be a new pricing structure from last month, but this is my first booking for a couple of months. Any ideas?

  12. Chris Slatet says:

    Presumably they knew the wage before joining? The vast majority of us have to put up with our employers. When we decide they are not worth it we leave. I have a flight on the 11th and if its disrupted they have done nothing but weakened their case with a loyal client, whiteout whom they would get no wage at all.

  13. If there is no pay rise for mixed fleet then the turnover of staff will increase and the service will deteriorate. If there was another BA accident I can’t imagine those paid £12,000 basic pay will risk their lives for you. The original article is incorrect, the union did not support the revised deal & BA have since revoked the deal for all union members. The flight pay is meant to be spent down route as meals are not provided down route for Mixed Fleet.

  14. More than one way of looking at this issue.
    E.G everyone on here seems to love the ME3 for cheap prices and high standards.

    Anyone know what they pay their crew? That’s in effect BA’s long haul competition.

    • As the crew are almost entirely non-locals (Emirates always announces how many different nationalities are amongst the crew, it is usually 15 or so out of 20-ish crew), including quite a few Brits, you can assume it is a decent sum.

      However, as I have said before, my Mum could run Emirates and still make money given a brand new fleet, a 24/7/365 home airport, 80% of the global population within a 6 hour flight and no legacy pension liabilities.

  15. Anthony Dunn says:

    What appears to have been completely lost on quite a few posters is that (and if you don’t believe me, them check this out for yourself on the BA recruitment site) BA states the salary for Mixed Fleet is between £21-£25K per annum. If the Unite figures are in any way accurate, then BA management is guilty of misrepresentation and/or of wilful and deliberate deception. I am no employment lawyer but I wonder whether there is a legal recourse for misrepresentation in the case of clear underpayment against stated potential earnings.

    • No lawyer needed, Unites figures are very wrong, no idea where they have come from, BA have offered up the raw salary data, Unite refusing to look at it….

  16. Too little, too late says:

    One thing, I am due to fly to TGX on one of the strike days. I have called BAEC and asked for the flight to be changed from a striking LHR flight to a non-striking LCY flight as per Rob’s article above. BA have flatly refused to change it without me being charged the change fee which is around an extra £150!! Furthermore, as it is a flight to a European destination with multiple flights per day, it is likely to be one of the chosen “chopped” flights should no Cabin Crew turn up.

    Whereas I sympathise that planning for a strike is tricky, I think that there should a policy by BA for people trying to avoid the strike, to be allowed to change them without paying a penalty. It is not the customer’s fault that BA has got themselves into this situation, yet we end up having to pay for our own contingency plans. Unfortunately for me, planning some time next week whether I completely change my entire days schedule is just too late. I need to re-arrange things now in order to give my customers notice of any change.

    • Why don’t Unite pay for customers changes? They are offering crew more in strike pay than they will loose from BA pay…