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Cabin crew war as BASSA (part of Unite) encourages BA to fire Mixed Fleet (part of Unite)

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It would take too long to run through the failed strategy run by the Unite union to protect the jobs of British Airways cabin crew. It was summed up in this article where – after months of refusing to negotiate – Unite’s Len McClusky publicly begged Alex Cruz to give his members the same deal that pilots had negotiated.

War has broken out today on social media, however, as the saga took another twist.

BA cabin crew dispute MFU BASSA

MFU is the branch of Unite which represents Mixed Fleet cabin crew (BA crew hired since 2010 on lower pay and poorer conditions than legacy crew).

MFU has emailed members to say that it has discovered that another part of Unite – BASSA, which represents legacy cabin crew – had put a plan to British Airways to fire Mixed Fleet crew and retain all legacy staff.

(Technically, I believe BASSA had proposed a ‘last in, first out’ policy, but as all hires since 2010 have been Mixed Fleet it amounts to the same thing.)

Here is an extract from the email:

It is important that we take time to add some context to this for clarification. Throughout the consultation period, MFU requested joint negotiations with BASSA to ensure a fair and equitable position could be reached for all members moving on to the new fleet. This request was denied and most recently your reps have learned that a formal proposal was submitted by BASSA as part of mitigation. It was proposed that MF colleagues were laid off in order to see WW and EF colleagues remain in the business following selection outcomes.

BA cabin crew dispute BASSA Mixed Fleet

Here are some comments from the ‘bassaunited’ Instagram account:

“Strip BA of slots, fuel more redundancies and then beg BA to suppress T&C’s and then fire Mixed Fleet? This is the real #BAbetrayal”

“How about you stop trying to throw my Mixed Fleet colleagues under a bus to protect your overpaid workers? No point trying to save a second home when their colleagues can’t even afford the rent on a room in London.”

“Divided we stand”

“I thought Mixed Fleet were also BA workers? I also thought we had to stand together ….”

“BASSA has thrown Mixed Fleet under the bus yet again, suggesting to the company to fire all to protect their own greedy deluded members.”

“Soooo …. are we going to all come together …. and tweet Huw Merriman, whilst also contacting the press etc – to explain exactly what this Union is up to?”

….. and so on.

Wonder what they think of all this down at the temporary Waterside replacement HQ? And how will relations be when the two staff fleets are eventually merged? 1st November is the target date for the launch of the new combined fleet.

Comments (89)

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  • Paul says:

    Time for HfP to block the #BAbetrayal Google ads that keep appearing here?

    • Rob says:

      Not seen those for a while actually!

      • A350 says:

        Literally see a BA Betrayal ad above this post’s comments now Rob. If you can please remove the ghastly thing from your website lol!

    • Andrew says:

      It’s directly above this comment on my screen…

      • Lady London says:

        It stops appearing after a week or two.

        You can also click the small x usually top right, and tell Google you dont want to see it again.

  • ChrisW says:

    If WW accepted a lower, more industry-standard pay deal then I think a last in, first out is a fair way to prioritise redundancies.

    This whole saga would make a great soap opera. Anyone remember the TV show Mile High?

    Remember when they merged the low cost crew with crew from a full service airline?

    • Rhys says:

      Ha – life imitates art!

    • Rob says:

      LIFO would be highly likely to fail an age discrimination lawsuit. It is different for pilots because BA can claim commercial value in keeping more experienced pilots on their books. You can’t claim that for any crew member who has been employed for more than a few months.

      • ChrisC says:

        I disagree.

        LIFO applies equally no matter your age (or sex) but when you joined the company.

        And an employment tribunal has ruled that is is not an irrational method even if it’s not the first choice.

        See this case for example.

        • HAM76 says:

          Yet the first paragraph already states: In most cases, it is not advisable for an employer to use “last in, first out” as the only criterion for selection if there are other factors that can be taken into account.

          Later the article makes clear that you have to look at the entire pool of employees who are at risk of being made redundant. BA has created two different pools here intentionally. Likely BA can use first in, first out for each pool and find a number of redundancies for each pool based on some objective criterion, but not across the entire company.

          • AJ says:

            LIFO would likely have failed a legal challenge as BA likes to keep pointing we are separate fleets on separate contracts. MF would have easily challenged it. They could have applied it to each fleet respectively but not across the board.

      • Ken says:

        It’s literally the first common selection method listed on the government redundancy help website.

        • HAM76 says:

          Which surely focuses on the more common case that employees are equally distributed across a company. However, with BA 100% of crew members hired in the past decade are mixed fleet, 0% are legacy crew. At least among those in their twenties there is age discrimination, because they face a higher risk of being laid off purely based on their age. There are no crew members in their twenties in legacy crews.

          • Ken says:

            It’s easy to over complicate it.

            LIFO is the worst option for BA, there is no chance they will implement it. Must be a decent slug of legacy crew that took redundancy. More to follow unless things improve quickly, and suddenly their bargaining power is pretty limited.
            Not great for them, but they have had a good innings.

  • Anon says:

    Waterside is still open.

  • Paul74 says:

    Very sorry to see that it has come to this. BA management the only winners if different sections of the cabin crew are publicly disagreeing.

  • marcw says:

    This was always the problem with unite. You cannot defend the *same interests* of two groups that do the SAME job, but completely different pay scales.

    • Novice says:

      I agree@ MARCW.

      I think for the situation that airlines are in, BA has made sound decisions. And, it does shock me that Legacy crew who have had a good ride while it lasted would stoop so low but that’s humanKIND for you.

      • Josh says:

        Hmmm usually these posts are full of vociferous WW and EF BA employees slagging off the company. Suspiciously absent now…

        • marcw says:

          Of course… They realised (late) how embarrassing the Unite “theme-park show was”.

        • Lady London says:

          could all have taken the money and gone.

          I have no idea why such a rearguard action is being brought now. Are BASSA worried about loss of income from union dues of legacy employees?

          BA will not even entertain this. They have their victory. They will have just turned it over to their lawyers to ensure how “No” is presented will keep the company protected.

          BASSA is “having a laugh”

          • Ken says:

            Rather than a rearguard action, I think BASSA made the proposal at least a month ago, and it clearly suits someone to leak it and keep the division & mistrust going.
            As you rightly say, not a cat in hells chance that BA would agree

        • Goldmember says:

          With the greatest respect you’ve got no idea what’s going on behind the scenes. All you have are the sensationalist chinese whispers being reported here as the only hearsay. And before anyone points out their allegiance to all things Rob, I’m well aware this is a subscription free service and a I don’t have to read it.

          • Spursdebs says:

            I wonder how many would actually pay for a subscription, and without our “ clicks” doubt Rob could sell ad space, which I assume is how he makes his money. Not forgetting this site gets many of its articles from our comments. It’s a simpatico relationship.

          • Kevin says:

            Not sure what you are seeking to achieve here. The article clears shares part of the email sent out. Comments on Instagram from employees further supports this, as do many comments on Twitter from respected BA employees. Not sure you can simply brush this away as sensationalist Chinese whispers or hearsay.

  • flying388 says:

    BASSA is the number one problem with BA – BASSA are solely focused on their legacy WW/EF members, and will quite happily sacrifice any or all of the rest of the cabin crew (MF), the paying public, or common sense survival of the airline that employs us or carries us around the world, to protect the agenda of their out of date leadership.

    I get that WW/EF colleagues have been horribly treated by BA and wish everything possible to keep as many as possible of them and as much as possible of their pay & terms but that is no excuse for the shameful way BASSA has treated MF as part of the problem rather than being on the same side.

    • Goldmember says:

      Shameful would be BASSA putting other people before their own members. BASSA are the union of EF/WW so it’s only fitting their angle will be towards the protection of its members. Perhaps the MF union could be more vocal in what it’s trying to achieve with its members.

      • Josh says:

        I see we have our EF/WW commentator….where are the rest?

        • Ken says:

          He has a valid point.
          BA have been desperate to get everyone on the same low T&Cs for more than a decade.
          But if you want to know why legacy crew (until now) have had it so good, or why say tube drivers are so well paid (when some lines could run without them), then it helps to belong to a militant, intransigent union who will fight tooth and nail.

          We may all not like it, and call them dinosaurs but if you were a union member who would you rather represent you in negotiations?
          It’s taken a pandemic to tame them.

          • Erico1875 says:

            Does that mean tryingto protect previously agreed T&Cs?
            I would suggest that the BA management are the militant in this case as they are the ones upsetting the status quo

          • Paul74 says:


          • Michael says:

            Spot on re the unions. Im amazed the legacy crews have lasted as long especially the pre 97 contracts…

        • Goldmember says:

          lol oh please!
          I’m not commentating anything other than if I was a member of BASSA, my expectation would be their allegiance towards me because I pay them my subs each month and not to another group of employees who don’t. The only muddying here is that both BASSA and MFU are both part of Unite.

  • R says:

    The recent BASSA email has basically declared war on Mixed Fleet – they will do anything to protect legacy, improve their pay and terms, even at the detriment of Mixed Fleet


    • Erico1875 says:

      Thats their job.
      Protect their members

    • Goldmember says:

      It’s not shameful at all. BASSA have been particularly reticent throughout the recent redundancy negotiations. I’d have been annoyed had I been a paid up member that they weren’t being more vocal or enticing at the negotiation table. Doing their members a disservice in the process. What you need to remember is MF/EF/WW have now gone. They are one crew base regardless as to how they got there. WW/EF who survived and retained employment (rightly or wrongly) stand to lose the most financially and in conditions. BASSA are currently still negotiating hard for its members from WW/EF on the finer details so all the time they’re talking and enhancing their members renumeration, their members are now getting exactly what they paid for. Where are MFU at for their members? Indeed is there anything they can negotiate on because on the most part they’ve not really lost anything.

      • BassaSnake says:

        MF didn’t have a wage to lose. They are already on the bare minimum so would have been impossible to make them lose any more.
        Also are you forgetting a lot of the supervisors and managers on MF who have been forcibly demoted back down to main crew? That’s at least a £3000 pay cut alone.
        What a toxic environment I really feel for MF at this time. Legacy have had their fun, it’s time to leave now. Most are overweight and miserable anyway. Only staying for the money. At least MF have some passion.

        • Andy says:

          MF need passion as they lack polish, experience, time keeping and class. If you don’t mind easy jet service in a BA uniform you’ll be fine.

          If you expect the BA service of old then you’ll need to fly with someone else.

          If spilled drinks, talking to each other across passengers, hours to get a meal service out on a night flight, rookies in First and forgotten meal orders are your bag then you should be right at home

          • BASSASNAKE says:

            I completely disagree. You are aware that more than half have came from other airlines and have years of experience prior to MF, some the same amount as legacy?
            I don’t know what flights you have been on, I am a frequent flyer and have received top class service every time from MF.

          • Andy says:

            Yes some come from other airlines TUI straight into BA First on their first flight earlier this year is one example but it doesn’t mean they aren’t completely out of their depth.
            “Years of experience” where in the Easyjet or Ryannair bun fight flights maybe

            If you actually are a frequent flyer in premium cabins you would have seen and known the difference I related to in the first post. You certainly wouldn’t be saying top class everytime unless you are hosting a different agenda, family on mixed fleet by any chance?

            It often would only take the first ten minutes on a flight to see the difference, even when the hats were a giveaway. why do you think they made hats compulsory across the fleets? To hide the initial first clue at least.

          • BASSASNAKE says:

            A lot of them come from Virgin, Emirates and Etihad where standards are extremely high.
            Plus, working at Ryanair/EasyJet is renowned for being a lot harder than working for BA. It has been ingrained in them from their very first flights with their ex airlines to work harder than legacy ever have so I don’t really see your point. Eg cleaning aircraft on turnaround, moving catering from one aircraft to another, no breaks during a 14 hour day, 7 day blocks with 2 days off, minimum rest.. the list goes on. I don’t think your beloved legacy crew have ever experienced a days hard work with their long lay overs and 33% contracts.
            I’ve said top class once, because that I believe they are. Yes, I can tell the difference. Legacy don’t want to be there, rolling their eyes every time you ask them for something and extremely complacent when it comes to safety.
            I guess we will agree to disagree here Andy, clearly you don’t know what you’re talking about.

          • Andy says:

            I most certainly do know what I’m talking about, thats why I can see straight through your posts. There is such a degree of bitterness, anger and envy in your posts towards legacy as I said in the previous posts, you are either MF or related to someone on MF. Your rose tinted view to their lack of ability probably down to a staff ticket upgrade. If you were a true frequent flyer in First or Business we wouldn’t be having this debate. The difference has always been massive. On the odd occassion, down the back they are fine, thats their level, move up the cabins and it all falls apart, “rabbits in headlights” springs to mind.

            I wasn’t talking about level of hard work, I was talking about quality of service from the passenger perspective. What premium passengers give a hoot who cleans the plane, how many days off the crew get or all your other gripes. My perspective was from the premium passenger stand point yours is so obviously from the crews, not the frequent flyer you profess to be

            The days on to days off ratio was in their/your contract, if you don’t like it get another job, you might have to soon anyway.

            If they don’t like there

  • S says:

    Reason #17363717274 why I can’t stand trade unions and unionists right here.

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