British Airways Flight Attendants Hold Firm To The Picket Line <


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British Airways Flight Attendants Hold Firm To The Picket Line

By Antonio Percy

March 29, 2010 - Another week of bullying by BA has backfired, Unite the union claimed on Sunday. Heavy-handed attempts to scare cabin crew back to work including withdrawing their travel assistance, deeming sick workers as strikers, and docking crew wages for days which are not strike days - are not working the union said as the scale of cabin crew strikes unfolds and BA's contingency plans unravel.

Unite says that sadly passengers are suffering from BA's hyped-up claims to be running a functioning operation as dozens of flights were cancelled yesterday - and that already today BA has cancelled over 130 flights, its greatest number yet. Len McCluskey, Unite assistant general secretary said "BA's bullying is backfiring. Instead of being cowed by their employer's aggression, cabin crew are striking forcing BA to cancel ever growing numbers of flights.

"Mr. Walsh needs to stop claiming that BA is flying more passengers because he isn't.  Where he can, he is putting BA customers onto other carriers and paying heavily for their services in so doing. But where BA is trying to fly its own routes it is clear they are failing. Dozens of flights flew yesterday without passengers and crew. Dozens more were simply cancelled, and today already over 130 flights will not leave.  

"Yesterday, hundreds of fed up passengers, encouraged to travel by management's exaggerated claims, were dumped in the terminal because the airline ran out of strike breakers. Everyone can now see through BA's contrick. It is truly sad that a great airline can be trashed in this way by its management. Without its cabin crew, BA cannot function.  It has to end this lunacy now and get back around the table to find a solution." 

Yesterday Unite announced that it is seeking legal advice on BA's attempts to deny striking crew pay for days other than strike days, and on BA's move to deem sick workers as strikers and punish them by withdrawing their pay and travel concessions. Fighting back at British Airways – airline warned Walsh's slash and burn strategy could destroy the company. 

Unite cabin crew members at British Airways recognise the pressures facing the company in the midst of the current economic crisis. Negotiations have been going on for over a year, but despite cabin crew being asked to make the heftiest sacrifices of all, British Airways continues to provoke cabin crew by imposing changes and refusing to negotiate openly and fairly.


Long Haul Heathrow thought to be operating at 30% below capacity, 60 flights planned but 22 of these are cargo only including flights to New York, Johanesburg and Hong Kong, 6 flights were loaded with passengers then unloaded - no crew - and told to rebook.  Zone E, Terminal 5 was congested, passenger barriers brought out for first time in the dispute to manage crowds. Tannoy announcements being made by company blaming Unite and cabin crew for the problems most flights flying well under capacity, first flight to Miami, a key weekend route, cancelled, in-bound flights now being cancelled, including LA flight.  

Eurofleet Heathrow again many grounded as BA relying on 8 other operators to carry passengers, first 5 flights this morning - delayed because of no crew, flights now flying with reduced crew.  Gatwick - all long haul gone one crew member down, by 9am, running out of 'volunteer' crew. Unite also announces it is seeking legal advice on legality of BA's move to deny pay to strike breakers beyond strike dates and its plans to define crew who are sick as strikers, so withdrawing their travel assistance too.  

BA cabin crew offered changes to pay and working practices that would have made savings of more than £100 million for British Airways, but the company rejected these proposals and repeatedly walked away from talks while introducing provocative changes. Cabin crew are the customers’ closest contact with the airline, does British Airways really want to change from being one of the world’s greatest airline to the world’s most basic airline?

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