Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

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

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

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)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Mike White says:

    Lets remember that this situation was created by Len McClusky refusing to negotiate. His approach has led to this ‘rats in a sack’ effect. But it appears he is inaccountable for the effects of his actions.

  • Paul says:

    I have no time for Unite, BASSA, mcCluskey etc. They are all dinosaurs gazing up at the meteor.

    That said this catastrophe is being so badly managed by government at every level
    that the country has the worst death rate, the worst economic collapse. We have no effective tracing; testing is failing over and we appear to be on the slippery slope to second lockdown.

    The virus is a hideous plague but I can’t help thinking that those who put Johnson where he now is carry a massive responsibility for what is happening. You reap what you sow and it was as clear as day that he was out of his depth

    • mark2 says:

      Please confirm that you believe that a Corbyn/Sturgeon/Swinson coalition (as we had before the election) would have done better job.

    • Goldmember says:

      With respect, there was nobody else worthy of my vote. I shudder to think on a greater scale what we would have been looking like with Jezza in control than I do with BoJo. It came down to the lesser of two evils on the day…. but please let’s not make this political.

      • Save East Coast Rewards says:

        “but please let’s not make this political”… after you said your political bit?

        I doubt Corbyn would have used this as an excuse to give millions of pounds of dodgy contracts to the likes of Serco, then hypocritically clapping for the NHS while trying to dismantle it. I doubt he’d had disappeared on numerous holidays at key times.

        Yes the options in the election weren’t very good, but how can anyone think of proven liar Johnson as the ‘least worst’ option is beyond me.

        • happeemonkee says:


        • RWJ says:

          Have to agree. Not a Corbyn fan but he’s stuck to his principles over the years which is more than can be said for floppy Johnson.

          • AJA says:

            But that’s the problem – Corbyn is a lifelong backbencher and was not suitable as a PM.

            The Labour Party may have had many great ideas and policies but that’s not enough. What did it for Labour was the muddled position on Brexit, ostensibly they were in favour of it (Corbyn is Eurosceptic) but also against it (Starmer & Co). Corbyn’s idea of negotiating a completely new deal with the EU within 3 months without specifying what the bare bones of his deal would be and then putting it to a referendum was just complete cloud cuckoo land fantasy.

        • Goldmember says:

          This is true – guilty a charged.
          I did think that too once I read back after posting. There’s no editing function unfortunately otherwise I’d have acted accordingly.

        • Aston100 says:


        • James F says:

          Well said.

          People were too busy posting memes about Diane Abbott to wake up to the fact that Boris Johnson is maliciously incompetent, and that his most publicly acceptable persona is that of a slightly affable moron

          • the_real_a says:

            It was always a vote on ideology – not competency. The last vote on competency was between Major or Blair in 1997. History shows us that very few people change their vote on competency when their ideology is not respected.

          • Josh says:

            Does this conclude the 6th form politics debate?

      • callum says:

        A complete cop out.

        In a democracy, you aren’t entitled to have everything given to you on a plate. If there was “no-one worthy” then you should have done something to change that.

        Granted, unless you’re amazingly charismatic and driven or a millionaire it’s unlikely to achieve much. But I’m guessing you didn’t even try?

  • Mingus says:

    Great case study for economics undergrads looking at insider/outsider models of unions.

  • John says:

    I am retired staff and I think the union is in BA pocket anyway BA will do and get what ever it wants it always has done.It was an amazing company to work for until Willie Walsh took over and destroyed the morale of the staff which I think was his aim.And now it’s been handed over to two Spanish guys to run who want to turn it into a no frills low end airline. I fill it’s not a British company any longer.please do not reveal my name or email address thanks.

    • marcw says:

      Do you have any particular problems with “Spanish guys” managing “British” Companies?

      • Josh says:

        To be honest…the concept of customer service in Spain is rather different to that expected in the UK. Look at Iberia.

  • Annoymus says:

    I’m not going to dwell on it any longer as all the negativity that this is creating along with the fury and resentment will not change anything apart from make me unhappy and sad. There’s more to life than wasting emotions on a company that clearly has little respect for me and my fellow MF colleagues.

    There is no denying that it infuriates me that the company sees us as second rate cabin crew to whom they are able to do anything that suits. Unfortunately, over the last ten years we seem to have taken it lying down and now we are dealt with another blow – a more insulting, patronising and condescending email from Amy which has made me feel totally worthless, unvalued and that my contribution to the company is one that is far inferior to that of my WW/EF colleagues. The end of an era of MF after ten years, after all we have contributed as a fleet, as crew, as a team, as individuals, as line trainers, as people managers, as recruiters, as multi skilled workers – the list goes on. This is the thanks we get for giving it our all. A very hard slap in the face. I do not have any issues with the other 2 fleets. I have good friends on all of our fleets and many MF cabin crew have parents and relatives who are on the other fleets. My issue is that the company have elected to treat us as worthless, underrated, under valued slaves who wear the same uniform, work on the same aircraft, do the same job, do it well, do it bad, however we do it, we do it with flair, in our unique and renowned BA way and individuality that makes us stand out from the rest of our competition. We make or break a persons journey. From 1 November 2020 we’re all going to be on the same plane, doing the same job but I am deemed unworthy of respect and a pay that reflects my ability, experience, knowledge, skills and input because I am “Mixed Fleet”. Very saddening and disheartening and discrimination in every which way you look at it.

    Let’s be very honest, in reality BASSA were never going to support MF Unite. They never have and rightly or wrongly, they were always only going to look after their own membership. That’s the way it’s always been. Quite honestly, I will admit, that if the shoe was on the other foot and it was the other way round – us ditching WW/EF for better terms and conditions, I along with many others would have given the nod and signed the papers, ticked the yes box. Unfortunately it’s a dog eat dog world and that’s not going to change.

    For MFU to be naive enough to think

    • Mikeact says:

      @Annoymus. You sound pretty unhappy, but I assume nobody pressured you to stay. The obvious answer is to up sticks and leave….some time ago, or is the attraction to see the world too strong?

    • J says:

      @Annoymus: Sounds like you finding it really tough, sorry to hear that. Out of interest (and I really mean out of interest, no malice intended), how much do you think the average MF crew member should earn?

  • AJA says:

    I think this is shameful on the part of BASSA though not unexpected as they are trying to belatedly protect the interests of their members.

    Likewise MFU releasing the email shows that they are also trying to protect their members.

    Both unions are scrabbling to show their worth since the policy of bashing BA and not engaging backfired spectacularly.

    Not sure why release this info now, especially as many staff have already left BA in mid August.

    I think this is really a battle between MFU and BASSA to assert dominance as you have to question whether there is the need for two separate parts of Unite to represent the new combined one fleet.

    • Novice says:

      I agree AJA.

      I must admit, although I don’t work for anyone/company also I’m not into business as I’m a writer, but I did study Business and Economics at Uni and if I was running an airline in a pandemic, I would have gotten rid of Legacy crew mostly (I know about age discrimination etc.). I would have argued that Legacy crew would not be there as long in the future because isn’t the retirement age 66. So, going by that any airline would be better off keeping the workforce happy who have more years to give to the company, in this case MF.

      That’s my logic.

      So, this whole ‘last in, first out’ approach isn’t always suited. I think we can all agree the only minister so far making any sense is Rishi Sunak. I’m not 100% but wasn’t he last in. So, in that arrangement, if ministers were getting fired then Sunak would be fired first although he has performed best out of the lot.

      • Goldmember says:

        MF only came about 10yrs ago. Prior to this you were EF or WW. I don’t think your arguement over legacy not being there for long would stack up for long when you compare someone who joined EF in 2008 when they were 22 (they’d now only be 34 with another 30+ years of their career ahead of them) to a 55yo who joined MF 2 years ago and who’s flying for the fact they want to fly as opposed to doing it because it pays well. I think you’d be surprised it’s not all old dragons ready for the scrap heap on legacy contracts and similarly it’s not all young dumb Instagrammers on MF either.

        • Novice says:

          Yeah I understand what you mean but my argument of age stands; in that case, I would try to keep the 34 and not the 55 yrs old.

          I admit most of my idea of legacy crew comes from this website and it always seems they are in the 40s/50s.

          I’m a leisure traveller as I can write remotely from anywhere so I frequent the airlines that have best products on any of my desired destinations so really I don’t take much note about crews apart from personal experiences. In my experiences, older crew members have always seemed as though they are dead wood because everything seems a sigh, chore, problem with them. I do prefer crew who try to do their job enthusiastically, who are friendly. I’m not one of those people who are particularly chatty, demanding or attention seeking so just require a friendly hello and just the usual good food service.

          And, is it just me, but BA have a lot of oldies working as crew members? Other airlines seem to have much more helpful middle-aged/youngish crew members. On avg, pre-pandemic, I took about 30 flights a yr (int.domestic/international) and most on other airlines; so I don’t know if my observation is reflecting the truth.

          • Lady London says:

            gotta be honest @Novice your comments are the personification of age discrimination.

            Thinking the 34 year old will give you more service than the 50 year old is very outdated these days. Loyalty to one company has sadly proven with the generation or two before us to have so often been a mistake. Younger people are much more savvy.and will often plan to move and keep moving wherever there is progression. A smart approach and a modern look-after-yourself one.

            So employment decisions based on the premises you state – and I fully.apppreciate those premises are held widely even if unstated – have been illegal for some time as indirect age discrimination if not direct. But I am glad you stated them.

          • Novice says:

            You are right too @LL.

            But, I think (I did state that I know it’s age discrimination) it’s disheartening for a person to always see/read that young ppl are going to get the most job-cuts etc. Because, if you think about it that is age discrimination too. I don’t blame young people for having a lack of loyalty to workplaces. You can probably imagine how glad I am that I never took the economics/business job route after Uni. I’d have probably been made redundant from wherever I had been working because I would have been in the ‘last one in’ category.

            I thank my lucky stars that I decided after Uni, that after waking up 7am every day for all my school/uni years, I couldn’t live my life not having enough zzz, so I ended up pursuing my passion of writing because the main advantage is I can sleep whenever I want which is very important to me.

            So, my comments were basically fantastical to an extent. I know that world doesn’t exist. But I’m glad you appreciate my honesty. Not many ppl like honesty.

        • Mike says:

          Novice, you studied business and economics at uni. You must know that there is no retirement age. That would be discrimination.
          I’m almost 58 and find it quiet offensive that you throw an employee out of a company based solely on their age.
          I guess you are very very young based on your comments. I wonder if you will volunteer to leave your job at the distinguished age of 55?

          • Rob says:

            55 is the partner retirement age at EY, Deloitte etc.

            40 is a good age to retire and start your own fun project like HfP, but this does require you to really pull your finger out between 25 and 40 to earn enough cash to do it.

  • Paul says:

    This is now getting very disturbing. Like most on this forum, pre COVID I was a corporate frequent flyer. I know we’ve seen BA management and staff clashes before, but I have to say the sheer scale of this has me seriously worried that the anxiety, stress and relentless pressure that BA management and the unions are putting their staff under will have serious consequences on their physical and mental health. These guys are responsible for our safety in the air. I remember the Swissair and German wings incidents a few years ago. Will I feel safe travelling with BA when we’re at the other side of all this? I really don’t know and there’s nothing I can see that reassures me.

  • Nathan says:

    Ha! ‘Four legs good. Two legs bad.’

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.