British Airways Presents Cabin Crew With New Contract Offer


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British Airways Presents Cabin Crew With New Contract Offer

Eddy Metcalf

June 29, 2010 - British Airways makes a new offer to its cabin crew in a fresh attempt to end the current labor dispute and prevent another strike. The offer includes two changes that are intended to address cabin crew concerns about their future earnings.

A new top-up payment is being offered to guarantee that existing crew will not lose out on route allowances when newly-recruited crew begin flying in the autumn and a proposal to increase staffing levels on some flights.

British Airways offer also includes two years of guaranteed rises in basic salary from February 2011 in addition to annual increment pay increases. The new top-up payment means all crew will receive a guaranteed minimum amount of variable pay, irrespective of the routes they fly.


Bill Francis, British Airways? head of cabin crew, said: ?We have changed our offer in line with feedback we have received from crew and we genuinely believe that it can end this dispute ? which is what the vast majority of crew and our customers want.?

The new proposal continues to provide existing crew with assurances about their future. These includes a firm commitment that crew can keep their current pay and conditions, an assurance that promotions and part time contracts within their current fleet will be on existing terms and conditions. Also an assurance that Heathrow crew can transfer between shorthaul and longhaul Fleet on current terms and conditions, a fair share of routes and access to new aircraft across all fleets and a commitment to look for opportunities for growth at Gatwick.

Unite, the British Airways cabin crew union stated that the new offer could lead to the postponement of ballot vote strike which was set to begin today on Tuesday, June 29th. Unite joint general secretary Tony Woodley, said: "As a consequence of the company?s last and final offer the union and its representatives will have no choice but to delay our vote in order to allow our members to consult on the offer The company has made it clear that the offer on the table will be removed if the strike ballot starts today (Tuesday).


"It would be therefore be inexplicable if we did not put this offer to our members, and I expect this course of action will be confirmed by our cabin crew representatives when they meet."

However, Unite has warned that it is not in a position to recommend the BA proposal to members because it does not fully reinstate staff travel arrangements stripped from crew who took lawful industrial strike action in March and May. Tony Woodley added: ?The fact that staff travel arrangements have not been restored to thousands of crew prevents this offer from BA being the breakthrough everyone seeks. "Failure by BA to restore travel in full means the possibility of a recommendation nil and makes acceptance of the offer uncertain.?

Tony Woodley ended: "This dispute could have been settled months ago.  A company cannot expect to attempt to beat its employees into submission and still function normally - it has to win hearts and minds if it is to progress. By choosing conflict over consensus, BA has lost tens of millions of pounds and one and half million BA passengers have deserted the airline for other carriers. We hope that postponement of the strike ballot will give them time to reflect on what more BA needs to do to restore peace and stability to this company."

Unite said the new proposal contains protections for existing members from the new fleet inferior contracts BA is introducing and will provide cabin crew a minimum allowance payment, an improvement to the flat fee that had been offered before.  Unite is also seeking an independent review of the cases of members suspended and sacked during the dispute. The consultative ballot on BA's new proposal could begin this week.


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