Socialist Worker

Cabin crew worker: 'Why I'm voting against BA's offer'

by a British Airways cabin crew worker
Issue No. 2253

“It’s hard working at British Airways at the moment. Crew are scared to talk to each other because someone could report them to management for saying the wrong thing. Then they might be suspended.

BA gave its heads of departments percentages of people they had to send to volunteer and work as cabin crew.

People get very upset having to work with volunteers. They are a threat to our jobs.

The offer lets the volunteers carry on doing our work.

One volunteer who usually worked in IT was on £50,000 a year. Last year I took home £19,000. Yet we are told we're earning too much.

Some think volunteering will further their career. But it won't – BA will be after their salaries next. And I know some of them have gone back to their desk jobs to find there isn't a job left for them.

I think the latest deal is appalling. I don’t understand why our union reps want a yes vote. A lot of my friends usually say that we should do what the union says. But they’re looking at the deal and asking, why should we say yes to this? What are we getting out of it?

And a lot of crew think that, if we can get more, then we should be fighting for it.

Contractual

The main things people are worried about is pay and job security. Lots of people are saying that nothing in the deal is legally binding or contractual. It’s just an agreement.

We could all sign it and BA could then rip it up. I’m on short haul. The new deal introduces a scheme that’s meant to protect our earnings. It promises a minimum payment. But the difference between those in long haul and short haul is thousands of pounds.

The deal accepts that BA’s mixed fleet will continue—a fleet where BA employs people on less pay and worse conditions. In a few years BA bosses could say: we don’t need any more short haul staff.

They’ll get more people in mixed fleet, and we’ll be done.

Cabin crew were united when we struck. But then the union wouldn’t call strikes. I think Unite has messed up massively.

I think that there will be a higher no vote than the union expects. There’s a lot of bitterness, some of it towards the union leaders.

Communication between Unite and crew is non-existent. I’ve received more ballot papers than I have any other communication from Unite during this dispute.

I want to know what they are doing to protect my future.

Some reps say that at least BA hasn’t smashed the union.

That’s true. But I worry about what will happen to our union in the future if this deal goes through. BA always says the deal is final. But every time we stand up to them we can make them move a little bit.

We need to make them move a lot. That’s why I’m voting no.”


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