BA cabin crew vote overwhelmingly for strike action

No doubt the media will probably focus on the few BA workers who didn’t vote for strike action.

22nd February 2010

Unite the union, the biggest union in aviation, today (Monday) announced that the ballot of its cabin crew members at British Airways has resulted in another overwhelming vote for strike action in the long-running dispute over imposed changes to crew numbers and working practices.

80.7 per cent of all those who returned their ballot forms voted yes to industrial action on a 78.7 per cent turnout. 7,482 of crew members balloted voted yes with 1,789 crew voting no; 11,691 ballot papers were issued.

However, the union has not announced dates for industrial action.

Announcing the ballot result, Unite assistant general secretary Len McCluskey said: “With this overwhelming vote in the teeth of BA harassment and media misrepresentation, BA’s cabin crew have made clear that the deep sense of grievance they feel about their treatment by their employer remains.

“Our members are not mindless militants but men and women committed to their company and their profession, so it is right that they want to be consulted on changes to their jobs. 

“The only way forward for this airline is if all parties can negotiate a solution to the issues before us.  In recent weeks we have been in serious discussion with BA.  We sincerely hope that the continued strength of the vote by crew will give BA pause for thought.

“Meaningful negotiations are continuing at the TUC and bringing them to a successful conclusion is the only way to resolve this dispute.  That is why we are not announcing dates for industrial action at this stage.”

While most, 75 percent, of BA’s crew earn only £20,000 at the top of their earnings, the dispute is not about pay.  The dispute was triggered by the imposition in November 2009 by BA of new working practices.

Cabin crew are concerned that the reduced crew will impact on service standards but are also very worried that BA’s refusal to consult on these changes means that the company has broken with the long-standing negotiating structures, which have delivered significant flexibility to the company including changes needed following 9/11 and the SARS outbreak. 

From Unite the union


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