BRITISH Airways cabin crew are in the midst of a strike in a long-running dispute over pay – and they have announced another two weeks of walkouts.
The latest action is the latest blow to the airline – which has been faced with more than a week’s worth of strike action in 2017 alone. Here’s how to find out if your flight has been affected the the latest walkout…
When is the British Airways strike?
The latest industrial action started on July 1 and was originally planned to last for 16 days.
But Unite members have since announced that they will walk out for 14 days from July 19, just three days after completing the 16-day stoppage.
The union said the new action underlined the determination of its members to continue campaigning for a better pay deal.
Howard Beckett, Unite assistant general secretary, said bosses removing travel concessions from crew who took part in previous strikes is “punishing staff” for using “legitimate industrial means to reach a wage deal”.
He added: “Unite believes the divisive way British Airways has targeted striking members of cabin crew is unlawful.
“The airline should be under no illusion of Unite’s intent to pursue justice on behalf of its members all the way to the highest court in the land.”
The clash — which has led to 26 days of strikes since January — is over pay gaps between recently hired “mixed fleet” crew and regular cabin crew.
What has British Airways said about the strike?
Following the announcement, British Airways said an offer was given with the aim of resolving the dispute – but it was rejected.
A BA spokesperson said: “As on the previous dates when Unite called strikes of mixed fleet cabin crew, we will fly all our customers to their destinations.
“Strike action is completely unnecessary.
“We had reached a deal on pay which Unite’s national officers agreed was acceptable. We urge Unite to put the pay proposals to a vote to their members.”
The airline will use Qatar Airways planes and crew to fly all its passengers to their destinations during the planned two-week strike by some cabin crew, Willie Walsh, head of BA’s parent company, said.
He said: “I’ll be pleased to say that those planes will fly and all of the British Airways passengers who are booked to fly with us over the next couple of weeks will be flying.”
BA had applied to Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to use nine Qatar-registered Airbus A320 or A321s during the strike dates.
The CAA would not confirm that BA’s application had been approved and said it was still processing it.
British Airways managed to limit the cancellations to just a number of flights that depart from Heathrow, while operating a full schedule at Gatwick and London City airports.
Passengers who are being affected by the cancellations are being contacted by BA and rebooked on separate flights.
A BA spokesperson told Sun Online: “Once again we will be able to fly all customers to their destinations, despite industrial action by Mixed Fleet Unite.
“We will operate a full schedule at Gatwick and London City airports as well as the vast majority of our Heathrow schedule.
“We will merge a very small number of Heathrow services, and all affected customers are being contacted in advance and will be rebooked to alternative flights.
“We would urge customers to ensure that the correct email and telephone details are in their bookings and to check their travel plans on our website, www.ba.com, if they need any further details.”
Why are British Airways cabin crew walking out?
Tensions have been running high over pay and conditions at the airline.
The dispute involves cabin crew who have joined the airline since 2010, with Unite claiming they earn less than other staff.
The union said a recent survey revealed almost half of the new cabin crew had taken on a second job to make ends meet, with some saying they had to sleep in their cars between shifts because they could not afford the petrol to drive home.
Earnings were advertised between £21,00 and £25,000 per year.
But Unite say in reality it starts at just over £12,000 plus £3 an hour.
They claim the airline refused to extend the mandate of the strike vote to allow for talks to resolve an ongoing dispute over “poverty pay” to continue.
Staff were further provoked by the news Virgin cabin are set for a 6.65 per cent pay bump while flight service managers and cabin service supervisors get a 4.45 per cent rise back-dated to October.
Commenting, Unite national officer Oliver Richardson said: “British Airways needs to drop its confrontational stance which is causing so much anger and leading to plummeting morale among its mixed cabin crew.
“With British Airways’ parent company forecasting massive annual profits of around £2.3 billion, it is clear the airline can afford to recognise the hard work of its mixed fleet cabin crew by paying a proper decent wage.
“Rather than trying to bully workers and focusing its resources on leasing aircraft to cover striking cabin crew, British Airways should focus its energies on trying to resolve our members’ legitimate concerns over poverty pay.
“Unite urges British Airways to wake up to the deepening anger of mixed fleet cabin crew and start valuing their contribution by meaningfully engaging with Unite to address poverty pay.”
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