British Airways’ cabin crew earn significantly more than their Virgin Atlantic counterparts and well above the industry standard.
According to figures the average wage of BA cabin crew is around £29,000 in comparison to £14,000 the average Virgin cabin crew member earns.
So what makes BA cabin crew think they have a right to strike over new proposals that don’t actually affect their current earnings?!
Before I go on a rather biased rant about the dreadful behaviour of their cabin crew and their union, Unite, backing them like an over-indulgent parent, let’s examine the facts of the case:
BA is losing money.
Unfortunately the airline saw a loss of £580 million last year. Consequently they have to consider what is best for the business and how to keep it afloat in a wave of economic uncertainty.
So what are BA planning on doing about this?
BA have announced that the number of cabin crew on long-haul flights will be reduced from 15 – 14 and introduce a two-year pay freeze from 2010.
They have also proposed new contracts for new recruits and newly-promoted staff. These are to include a single on-board management grade, no seniority, promotion on merit and pay set at the market rate + 10% (note – still well above the market average).
As a result of this Unite has worked itself into a frenzy because British Airways did not consult them on this first. Please bare-in-mind that the airline is not obligated to consult them anyway.
Consequently Unite are now encouraging cabin crew to strike and they are currently balloting for the 22nd February this year. It certainly makes one speculate that Unite are simply encouraging this as a result of BA not consulting them first.
So, is this simply a case of a spoilt union throwing its toys out of the pram?!
What is the backlash likely to be?
Should the ballot go through and the many hundreds of cabin crew strike for an extended period of time this could result in:
- Costing the airline millions of pounds.
- More and more existing small business and their larger counter-parts flying with a more reliable service.
- Adverse affect on private customers – resulting in more loss of business for BA.
- Increasing numbers of BA workers losing their jobs or more pay-cuts and freezes as a result of business loss.
So, like the majority of poorly thought through union action this is unlikely to “win the hearts and minds of the people.” Instead it will merely assist a growth in unemployment and upset a lot of BA travellers.