Socialist Worker

British Airways cabin crew organise against bosses' onslaught

by Chris Bambery
Issue No. 2175

British Airways (BA) cabin crew are to ballot for industrial action in response to a management assault on their jobs, conditions and pay.

They were also to gather next week for a mass meeting at Sandown race course to discuss their fight.

Around 14,000 cabin crew belong to the Unite union. BA wants to impose new contracts on current staff.

Willie Walsh, BA’s chief executive, broke off negotiations with the unions to announce he would axe

1,700 jobs, impose a two year pay freeze and force remaining cabin crew to work longer hours for less pay.

A BA worker explains that management are trying to use “the fear factor” created by the recession.

“There’s recognition that we’re at a fork in the road. If BA can impose this on one of the strongest groups of workers in the company it’s sending a clear message to all.”

One cabin crew worker responded angrily to claims that they are overpaid and underworked. They pointed out that they work “duty periods of up to 15 hours, time changes forward and backward of up to 11 hours”.

At Terminal 5, management have refused to pay check-in staff an agreed productivity bonus because they say the unions have not signed up to a new pay and productivity agreement.

The whole dispute is summed up by one cabin crew worker: “This is not about pay. It is simple union-busting by a bully boy management.”

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Tue 27 Oct 2009, 18:37 GMT
Issue No. 2175
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