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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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  • Pickle says:

    This article is inflammatory, last in first out is a perfectly acceptable way to handle redundancies, as long as it doesn’t only penalise the youngest workers. MF has a mixture of ages.

    I’m pleased that they didn’t have to use last in first out, but the suggestion really isn’t that ridiculous. Anyone on here rather see someone who’s been in their company two years kept on when they’re made redundant after 30 years service? Anyone?

    • Rob says:

      It’s fine by me, frankly. It is the norm in the City and the professions. You actually NEED to kick out older people, because it is how the younger people come to believe that they will get the top jobs some day.

      Why do you think young lawyers and accountants put in 80 hour weeks for (relative) peanuts? Because they see the top staff on seven-figure packages and they also see them being moved out of the way quickly enough that there is a constant stream of younger staff being moved up.

      Plenty of young talented people leave companies because they see older people squatting in roles which are blocking their own chance of promotion.

      • Novice says:

        I’m actually embarrassed that despite being a writer, I have not been able to express this like you just managed to do so, Rob. I did try but essentially this is exactly what I meant with all my posts on why I think it’s unfair that young people seem to be treated as disposable, for a lack of a better word.

        As I have said countless times before, A legacy was once a Newbie.

      • Lady London says:

        Quite surprised at your comment Rob. I grew up working mostly for Americans and then some other nationalities.

        With the Americans we were always working to expand the company and that would bring more jobs at all levels. If you did something new that worked you were rewarded with promotion. You werent really seeing yourself as in conflict with more senior people it was everyone’s job to make the cake bigger for everyone.

        I guess cultures and times differ?

    • Ian says:

      You clearly know nothing about employment law. Last in first out is no longer a lawful way of choosing people for redundancy as it is likely to discriminate on the grounds of age. Length of service can be one factor in the selection process but it can’t be the only factor. I’m an HR Director, so I know!

  • Jock says:

    And there also used to be a Gatwick base that had 2,000 crew that has just be slaughtered down to less than 800 by way of redundancy, the remaining legacy crew are now being forced onto the current mixed fleet style contract along with the newer crew, I call it mixed fleet style because the wages are even less than mixed fleet get. And this has already happened with no mention anywhere 😢

    • Rob says:

      Gatwick is effectively closed down though, so I don’t think anyone is surprised about that.

  • p says:

    Will be interesting to see whether there is part of the BASSA deal for ex WW/EF to get priority roster bid rights leaving the less lucrative routes as far as allowances go to ex MF.

    Hopefully the company does not even go down that route

  • Lorna says:

    You’re all missing the point.
    MF have a ‘stand down clause’ in their contracts. It’s always been there since MF was invented. It was one if the main reasons MF exists. BA wanted the ability to stand crew down, without pay, at will. They also wanted cheaper crew.
    BA got what they wanted. Now refuse to use the stand down clause, which breaks no contracts, but prefer to
    fire ‘Legacy’ crew.
    What is fairer is to stick with the stand down clause which is temporary and agreed, than to fire people, which is permanent and devastating.
    Legacy have begged to be voluntarily stood down rather than sacked. Requests ignored.

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