1,700 jobs go as British Airways continues to crumble away

7 October 2009

Bitterwallet - BA profits fall out the skyBritish Airways may fly all over the word, but they’re currently heading towards hell in a handcart. In the past three months, the ailing airline has asked staff to work for free for a month, stopped serving meals on short-haul flights, grounded 22 planes this coming winter, announced they’re considering charging economy passengers on short-haul flights for food, raised fees for excess baggage and changed charges for sports equipment, and introduced advertising on their boarding passes. But they’re not done yet.

The latest Willie Walsh wheeze is to announce the loss of 1,700 cabin crew jobs without any consultation with Unite, the union who represent the sky-dwelling staff. As a result, industrial action seems inevitable, with the Christmas period likely to face disruption.

BA were aiming to cut 2,000 cabin crew jobs, but have said that 1,000 staff have volunteered to take redundancy while another 3,000 wanted to switch to part-time (whatever that means when you’ve already worked free for a month)  – which when added up is the equivalent of 1,700 full-time jobs.

So if you’re planning to visit loved ones elsewhere in the world this Christmas, you might want to think twice before booking with BA. Unless you fancy pulling your crackers in a crowded airport terminal with a bunch of irate, sweat-stinking go-nowheres.

TOPICS:   Travel

30 comments

  • Michael
    I was wondering when the annual BA staff strike would be taking place. For a minute, I thought that we might go a whole calendar year without seeing one, and that wouldn't be on would it?
  • Andrew R.
    If I had my way, we'd have no domestic flights whatsoever, and invest the money into a decent fucking train infrastructure. Simples! Someone make me prime minister. Fuck healthcare though, haven't got a clue about that.
  • Stephen H.
    Here's to you Mr Robinson and a decent fucking train system, great idea. Alot of flights do go abroad though you know.
  • Peter
    This has to be one of the nastiest pieces that you have written in a while. If people aren't flying as much as they used to, what is any airline supposed to do to stay in business? M&S decided, just a short while ago, that there were not enough customers coming through their doors to maintain staff and store numbers and so what did they do? Yes you've guessed - they cut staff and closed stores and it caused hardly a ripple in the press. BA do the same thing and all hell breaks loose. Whilst I have every sympathy with anyone that loses their job or takes a pay cut, the choice is to cut business costs by shedding some jobs and having the others take a pay cut or everyone losies their job because the company goes bust. I know which would be preferable for me and for any other sane and thinking person. Now, if only we could persuade politicians to follow the pay and job cuts model, UK plc might not be in the sh*t state that it's in.
  • gravy
    Nice news / way to repay for the mugs that worked for free.
  • jim w.
    If i try to strike at my job (where i've had no payrise for 2 years) i get fired. Bloomin' unions.
  • Peter
    Oh, I forgot to mention that I am not employed by BA nor have I ever been. My own feeling is that Unite should really be called Dis-unite as they have always given me the impression that they are divisive and in existance to wipe BA from the face of the world.
  • Gunn
    Always seems to be the customer that foots the bill or the lowest staff levels suffer.
  • The B.
    Funny that no one has pointed out that BA lose money because people won't use them because their staff are always on strike. Chicken? Egg? Process flow: BA staff are made redundant BA staff strike BA cancel flights BA lose money Customers avoid BA because they're unreliable due to staff always striking BA lose more money BA make more redundancies Repeat process until the CEO is the only one left
  • CompactDstrxion
    Time to give the flag to an airline who gives a damn, I think.
  • Skycaptain
    More customers for me to rob, oops, I mean carry on my planes then. I'm also thinking of expanding into the rollercoaster industry too. Then I can fully and legitimately empty my customers pockets on a daily basis.
  • Me
    I work for BA. Didn't work for free - couldn't afford to and wouldn't either cos WW is an asshole. WIlie seems to want a strike as he's flatly rejected many ways of saving in excess of the required amount of money. He fills his pockets and those of the board, takes unlimited first class travel and fucks everyone else. Flights are busy, most full. No idea where all the money's going as the people I talk to are actually paying for their tickets! May as well still be a government run company cos they don't have a clue what they're doing either. Only 2 groups of people will be affected - staff and inevitably passengers cos little Willie doesn't give a shit about either of them. I'm embarrassed to work for them :-(
  • Peter
    Hi Me - can't resist replying to your email. If you are embarassed to work for BA and think Willie is a willie, why not go and work for a company you can be proud of like Ryan Air or SqueezyJet?
  • Me
    Ryanair are even worse and I don't suit orange! Still, if Willie goes, or is pushed (hopefully under a bus) then someone who has an idea of how to run the company may come along and begin to salvage something good from the wreckage!
  • Rembrandt
    @Me The reason you're saying you won't leave is because you're massively overpaid cabin crew, isn't it? Otherwise, there is a more than generous redundancy package on the table for you. Why don't you move to one of the other airlines so you can be paid a third of what you're getting now? BA Cabin Crew are con artists on cushy contracts, it's about time they got brought back down to earth.
  • Gary
    Time to put BA on 'Deathwatch', BW?
  • Peter
    @Rembrandt - whilst the well paid bit is certainly true for the longest serving air-crew, the recently employed crew are not that well paid at all. ================ One of the main challenges faced by BA is that it is expected by the flying public to provide a premium service at bucket-shop prices. Basic economics says that this is not possible. This leaves the BA bosses with a difficult task which involves cutting lots of corners. Regrettably, one thing in certain - keep the overheads as they are and they will go bust and that will me a lot more folks without a job than the current, propsed cuts involve. As a question to all those reading these posts - when paying for your own tickets, do you fly cheapest? If you answered yes, you will appreciate that everyone is going to end up flying cattle class with everything, including lavatory use, charged extra.
  • Monkey_Boy
    Problem is, BA are overpriced. The alternatives are much cheaper as the above person pointed out. I spent 3 months in FULL fleazy-jet planes flying backwards and forward to ParisCDG on a weekly basis. One time I couldn't get on so I flew BA. I'll be honest, there wasn't much difference. I was still treated like cattle, ignored and had a menu for overpriced snacks and goods. So for BA to continue to exist servicing companies with endless budgets and upper-middle class people, they need to offer something a bit more special. If they want to compete with the Budget airlines, they have to charge budget airline prices!
  • tits
    For the last few places I flew to, only EasyJet could offer me the flights at the right time, destination and departure airport I wanted. Didn't care how much I paid really!
  • Me
    Is £18k a year overpaid? I can't afford to be sick or take the leave I am entitled to and to top that have to live around heathrow. No london weighting allowance, overtime or extra pay for working nights, bank holidays, christmas, etc. People who've done 20 plus years earn much more as the contracts differ but why shouldn't you get a pretty decent wage after 20 plus years? It makes me laugh that everyone thinks we're paid extortionate amounts because the papers say so. @Rembrandt - get the facts straight. Massively overpaid - no, fat redundancy - no.
  • Peter
    @me - you forgot to mention that a second language is also needed before you can even be considered for the job and the fact that, if you fly long-haul, you could fly London Tokyo London followed by London San Francisco London and still be expected to be polite to customers and to be awake and fully functional in case of an emergency. ======================== Let no one think that it is an easy job that air-crew have. You will find that most air-crew burn out very quickly due to the stresses and crap working conditions. That's one of the main reasons why air-crew are more and more aged 20 something. A few years of flying and they're knackered. I've been a passenger, in all classes and with many airlines, for more than 40 years and when I started flying, air-crew really did have a good life, reasonable working hours and conditions and good pay. Regrettably, freedom of the skies has ruined the whole thing to the extent that I fly only when forced to and I would have to be truly desperate to accept the working regime that economics and the public at large have forced on all air-crew.
  • george o.
    who lost £850,000,000. in fines for unfair practices ? ( BA managers) Terminal Five ( say no more ). Who gave himself a pay-rise (£750,000 pa +package and bonus ) and cut services and products reduced pay and conditions for staff ? Started another airline where other companies failed to make a profit.? ( Got some money then ) why is it that 98 % of BA cabin crew are against these changes ? ( Could it be that they are trying to safe guard BA for pax not for shareholders who only invest for the short term and could not give a flying fig how much leg room you have or whether your IFE works ) Have a read of Animal Farm and you will see how so many people can be mislead for the benefit of the few. If you want to have a go at someone try the Management not the Crew .( By the way - who makes policy ? ) Have another coffee it's right under your nose
  • Peter
    My understanding of the 850mill fine is that they were outed by, if I remember correctly, Richard Branson. Anyone who thinks that this sort of thing is NOT common practice is living in cloud cuckoo land. We have just had BAe made the scapegoat for all the bribery that is both common and normal business practice in the Middle East and Africe. As to T5, why is no one asking what part BAA had in this fiasco. It was the baggage systems that caused the majority of the problems and their function and reliability was and still is in the hands of BAA, not BA. BA certainly had teething troubles but no one puts something like this into operation error free. I just find the whole BA thing slightly surreal as the media and the unions are making far more fuss about BA management than they have done about the people who ran the financial institutions when that house of cards collapsed and are still, mostly, running those same institutions on the same inflated salaries and perks and pension package.
  • Alex
    It seems that airlines all over the world are struggling. This time the excuse is the Global Financial Crisis, last year they were cutting staff blaming high fuel prices. What's next? Maybe they should tale a look at cutting back the salaries of the executives that run these airlines instead of making people work for free.
  • Rembrandt
    Nobody has been made to work for free. Everyone was ASKED if they'd like to work for free, most people said no. There was absolutely no pressure. People were also asked if they wanted unpaid time off, something that a lot of people would kill for. @Me, the standard wage for new cabin crew may not be fantastic, but it's the cabin crew that have been around a while that have extortionate benefits. Yes, as you go on in a company you deserve a little more, but the old fashioned agreements in place for these staff members are absolutely insane. As far as BA to Europe goes, I think it's going to be very, very difficult for BA to ever be truely competitive in these markets, a view which many BA managers will no doubt agree with. It's the premium travellers on transatlantic flights that will see BA through the tough times. Flights may be full at the moment, but they're full of people on discounted fares and very few premium travellers paying full whack. This needs to change or BA will need to make more and more cuts.
  • george o.
    All things being equal Running a business " profitably" is all about striking a deal that satisfies all those involved Customers, suppliers ,investors, staff and the company ( THE Management ); Its about "Satisfying the double coincidence of wants". Customers instinctively know what it is they want and are willing to pay for it, however We all want more ! ( First law of economics maximize your own self interest ) When you listen to Global leaders and managers they talk about making things" better" for the consumer ! (Did you enjoy your last phone call to a call centre in india ? I know I did !) (When was the last time you saw something that was made in great britain (uk)) (locally grown ( does that mean near to where you live ? )). what we have seen over these years is the " slick" management of decline: In standards Value for money and customer satisfaction. Where do all the profits go? Is it in our Pensions for the future, Re-investment into products and services Customer loyalty, Share holders, Tax -man,or BONUSES FOR A CRIME WELL DONE !
  • adam t.
    It wasn't long ago that BA staff at Gatwick were paid the same as Heathrow staff because the union classed it as a London airport. BA staff are overpaid compared with other airlines and know that cabin crew at Virgin are on around £12K with BA £18K plus. The unions have a stranglehold on the airline from the pre-privatistaion days
  • C
    You do not need a second language to work as Cabin Crew for BA.
  • Josefa D.
    I read that he was quite keen do a Eastenders appearence! Lol. Sounds a bit dodgy to me. There's a part of me that kind of wishes this is true lol.
  • Glynn
    Who the fuck are BA anyway? I live outside the M25 - ie.Manchester, and they don't fly me or a huge fuckin chunk of the great British public anywhere. No fucker gives a fuck outside London what happens to this creaking pile of shit.

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