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.
‘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
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.