British Airways (BA) is planning to slash 1,700 jobs and impose a two year pay freeze on its remaining staff. But workers will not to take the cuts lying down and are planning strike action over the Christmas period.
The cuts mean that the remaining cabin crew will be working longer hours for less pay.
Chief executive Willie Walsh made the cuts announcement without reference to the Unite union, which has been in negotiations with him for months.
Unite is balloting BA’s 14,000 cabin crew for strike action. Ground crew face similar attacks and may also strike. The union warns that Walsh’s plan will create “a second tier workforce on poorer pay and conditions”.
A cabin crew worker for BA told Socialist Worker, “Being part of the cabin crew is no cushy number. You’re always working long hours.
“Not only that – if someone’s taken ill we have to be a paramedic, if there’s a fire we have to be a firefighter.”
Press leaks from BA management indicate new cabin crew staff could earn as little as £14,000 a year.
The worker said, “I enjoy the job but it’s not worth doing for minimum wage.
“At the moment, after a 12 and a half hour shift, we’re entitled to a 15 hour break. They want to reduce that break to 12 hours. That means I could finish a night flight, get home at 10am and have to report back at 10.30pm.
“That would be knackering – and I would not be in a fit state to deal with an emergency.
“Everyone is waiting to be on strike. Everyone wants Willie Walsh out.”