Unite balloting on potential British Airways strike action after ‘secret’ pay rises for new staff
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With inflation expected to hit 10% soon, and few companies willing or able to offer pay rises of that level (HfP did, before anyone asks), we can expect increased rumblings of industrial action across the economy. You may already have read about potential strikes on the rail network.
Unite, the main union representing British Airways staff, has asked British Airways ground staff to vote on their willingness to take industrial action this Summer.
According to Unite, British Airways has broken an agreement under which no groups of staff would receive preferential pay increases. This is a key part of collective bargaining, of course.
Whilst BA has said that it has no problem attracting people to work as cabin crew – albeit that there are major issues getting security clearance for new recruits – it is harder to find people willing to work on the ground at Heathrow.
Unite claims that starting salaries for ground staff at Heathrow have been increased by £1,300 in an attempt to recruit staff. This was apparently done without the knowledge of BA line management or Unite representatives.
Under the terms of the last pay deal agreed with Unite, it believes that all other ground staff are contractually entitled to a £1,300 pay rise to match the increase given to new staff. The exact agreement is, to quote Unite:
“For the avoidance of doubt this is a full and final offer. British Airways cannot afford, and does not intend, to increase this offer. Therefore as a commitment to colleagues accepting this offer … any additional enhancement will also be applied to all areas accepting this offer.”
This is disappointing, it says, because the union had hoped to have seen the back of “the disastrous policies of deceit and mistrust instigated under Alex Cruz’s leadership“.
The question that Unite members are being ballotted on is (spot the typo):
“If necessary, would you support industrial action over this breech of the ‘good faith’ clause in the Pay 2022 BA/Unite agreement?”
There is a long way to go before any strike action takes place, but it is hard to see British Airways voluntarily offering a £1,300 pay rise to all ground staff.
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