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Has Len McCluskey admitted that Unite’s actions increased the British Airways redundancies?

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If you work for British Airways as cabin crew or in parts of engineering, you would have found out on Friday whether your job was safe or if you had been made redundant.  Other parts of the business will find out their fates this week.

As has been well publicised, the approach of the Unite union throughout this process has been one of disengagement.  Unite spent the majority of the legally required consultation period refusing to meet with the airline, and also recommended that its members refuse to engage with the process.

The latter part now seems to have come home to roost.  It appears, although clearly British Airways will not confirm this, that redundancies have been made purely on the basis of a defined ranking process.  This makes the process legally ‘sound’ and means that BA can clearly show that no favouritism or bias took blace.  Ranking was based on various factors including historic appraisals, but also some information requested from staff.  Those who refused to complete the documents required, as the union suggested, did not do themselves any favours.

On Friday, Unite issued a statement on the crew redundancies which you can find here.

It contains a statement which appears relatively uncontentious but is actually quite shocking:

“Unite’s general secretary Len McCluskey has called upon BA to offer the deal that it struck with pilots to the rest of the workforce as a way to bring a fair resolution to the current crisis.”

unite british airways redundancies

Unlike Unite, the pilot’s union BALPA DID choose to engage and negotiate with British Airways.

The result of these negotations was that the number of job losses amongst pilots was SUBSTANTIALLY reduced.  The initial plan for 1,255 compulsory redundancies was reduced to around 200.

This is how it worked:

All pilots who remain will take a pay cut of 8%, effective from September 2020

All pilots who remain will take an ADDITIONAL pay cut of 8% (so a total of 16%) which will be paid into a Community Retention Scheme.  This pot will be used to pay the salaries of 300 pilots who will be grounded.  This pay cut will last from September 2020 to September 2022, with the amount reducing as flight numbers increase and more pilots are pulled back into the active fleet.

The 4% pay rise agreed for April 2021 will be deferred until January 2024

All pilots will take two weeks unpaid leave between August 2020 and April 2021

Our full article on the British Airways pilots pay deal is here.

Unite is now effectively admitting that its strategy of refusing to negotiate with British Airways has failed.  Asking the airline to give cabin crew the same deal that was negotiated by BALPA is an admission that a deal could have been cut but wasn’t.  Many people are now paying for that decision with their careers.

PS.  There is another point, of course.  Would cabin crew share Len McCluskey’s enthusiasm for the BALPA deal?  It seems unlikely that cabin crew, especially Mixed Fleet with base salaries of around £15,000, would voluntarily take an 8% pay cut and contribute a further 8% to a pot to pay non-working colleagues.  The pilot’s deal is also believed to have an element of ‘last in, first out’ which means that cabin crew redundancies would fall disproportionately on Mixed Fleet.

Comments (120)

  • margaret corral says:

    why is brish airways makeing a big problem about there job l work thomes cook 8 month if you lose you job get ather job not end of world people out there dont have jobs no one is flying of coronavirus

    • p says:

      With respect working for a company for 8 months and losing a job is not same as working for a company for 25-30 years or more and then losing your job. Sure anyone can eventually find another job but it really is not the same

  • Ian says:

    Even if Unite requested same deal as pilots, it would never happen. BA had one aim (vendetta) against cabin crew. To Destroy the heart and soul of the airline. To make one fleet even though the company were responsible for making 3 fleets. They are taking advantage of the pandemic and week UK working laws. Hire and fire is a first in UK, but BA don’t care and will change the T&C’s of all crew and drastically change the pay. Shame on the management, it didn’t have to be like this.

    • P says:

      Seems though the vendetta is in both directions with Unites remove the slots and BA betrayal campaign which although might hurt BA also may well hurt BA staff with even more cuts.

  • John Gorry says:

    I was sacked by BA in 2009, having served as Worldwide Crew since 1996. My crime? Excess sickness due to skin cancer (too many chemotherapy sessions for BA’s liking) so I went into a ‘process’. I fought. Boy did I fight. My biggest letdown? BASSA, and OH Parsons, their corrupt personal injury ‘Lawyers’ who decimated any chance I could have ever had of fighting for my job. They were a complete and utter disgrace. No help whatsoever. Dispatches really need to do a documentary on the corruption and nepotism within Unite. I ran some statistics recently. BA Cabin Crew, the ones who were made redundant, have filled the Union’s coffers with over 70 MILLION over their careers. And for what? The needed trained negotiators (like BALPA have), but they used amateurs. Projecting stupid slogans onto buildings? Dumb. Happy retirement Mr McCluskey. You grabbed the money and ran.

    • Lady London says:

      Hey @John G you posted late in day so many would have missed your comment I just wanted to say I’m sorry for what you’ve gone through. You won though because you made it through -survival to fight them another day (or help others who later face the same thing) on some basis is the thing.