BA willing to talk over Christmas strike threat

BA willing to talk over Christmas strike threat

British Airways says it remains open to further discussions after a union representing cabin crew warned of possible strike action over Christmas.

Thousands of cabin crew working for the airline’s ‘mixed fleet’ will begin voting on industrial action on Wednesday in a dispute over alleged ‘poverty’ pay levels.

The ballot of members of the Unite union working on a combination of long and short haul flights from Heathrow airport closes on December 14 – meaning that any walk-out could affect the peak Christmas travel period.

It comes after crew rejected a 2% pay offer by the airline and customer service managers fight for the right to collectively bargain after six years of no pay rises.

BA disputes the union’s assertion that basic pay starts at just £12,000 and average pay packets including allowances total just £16,000 a year.  

The carrier says new mixed fleet cabin crew receive more than £21,000 based on pay, allowances, incentive and bonus. Subsequently this amount raises over time.

But Unite regional officer Matt Smith said: “The promise of salaries being between £21,000 and £25,000 for ‘mixed fleet’ cabin crew is a flight of fancy, with BA’s offer of a 2% pay rise doing nothing to address pitiful pay levels which are causing dedicated crew real hardship.

“It should be to the company's eternal shame that they, the UK’s national carrier, are making billions while their cabin crew responsible for maintaining a safe environment are working while sick and without adequate rest.”

BA said: “Our pay proposal for our mixed fleet cabin crew is fair, reasonable and consistent with that already accepted by other British Airways colleagues. 

“It reflects typical pay awards given by other companies in the UK and will ensure their reward levels remain in line with cabin crew at our airline competitors.

“We continue to receive a high number of applications for mixed fleet cabin crew roles. This year to date we have received over 25,000 applications for around 2,000 cabin crew positions.

“We remain open and flexible to discuss this further with our colleagues and the union."

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