BA union losing credibility

NEGOTIATIONS have broken down between British Airways (BA) and its cabin crew union, Unite. Union leaders are meeting now to discuss whether to call for a strike or not.

While 81 per cent of union members have voted for one, BA has managed to organise widespread non-union support from its staff to ensure operations will not be disrupted if a strike goes forward.

This brings the ongoing dispute over pay to a curious situation. The dispute first began when BA announced a hard-hitting, but widely regarded as essential, cost-cutting programme. Unite members have voted for strikes several times since last year over the issue.

BA has suggested changes that would save £62.5 million (US$94 million) by implementing “minor changes to onboard crew numbers and [would] involve no reduction in earnings for existing crew”.

And yet Unite’s suggestion, which BA has just rejected, would save £63 million through having some staff work part-time and general pay cuts, estimated to reduce staff salaries by between £1,000 to £2,700 ($1,504 to $4,062) a year.

BA’s Unite members no doubt are questioning the wisdom of having the union act as their negotiatiors.

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