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Published on : Wednesday, February 15, 2017
The strike will be from 22 to 25 February inclusive of both the days and this strike is in addition to a four-day strike from 17 to 20 February. Members of the union working for BA’s Mixed Fleet operation will take the number of days of industrial action to 19 since the start of the year.
BA’s Mixed Fleet operation serves around 50 domestic, European and long-haul routes. All the staff have been recruited since the last cabin-crew dispute ended in 2010. They are employed on less favourable terms than longer-serving staff.
The strike is what the cabin crew members have described as “poverty pay”. Unite says cabin crew earn an average of £16,000, including allowances, a year. However, BA does not recognise this figure, saying that the lowest paid full-time member of Mixed Fleet earned more than £21,000 last year.
During the first three days of the latest stoppage, British Airways says it cancelled a total of 24 flights; during the latter three days, only 10 were grounded. That represents less than half of one per cent of total BA flights. Interestingly, some departure flights have been covered by chartering in planes and crews from other airlines such as from Titan and Thomson Airways.
Matt Smith, Unite regional officer said that for every hour British Airways ‘wet leases’ an aircraft from another airline to cover striking cabin crew it costs in the region of £2,000 to £3,000. Their estimate put the amount of money British Airways has spent on defending the dispute and poverty pay at £1m.
This is the amount the airline has taken a conscious decision to give to other airlines rather than addressing pay levels which are forcing hardworking Mixed Fleet cabin crew into financial hardship.
The strike and dispute affects only some flights to and from Heathrow. The services from London City, Gatwick and Stansted remains unaffected.
BA said in a statement that All British Airways customers would fly to their destinations during the proposed industrial action by Mixed Fleet Unite on 17-20 February.
The airline said its pay offer reflects pay awards given by other companies in the UK and it will ensure that rewards for Mixed Fleet “remain in line” with those for cabin crew at its competitors.