British Airways staff speak out, press organises lynch mob

17 December 2009

Bitterwallet - British Airways strike over Christmas 2009We've been critical of British Airways management since the day Bitterwallet was born, but you'll have noticed we're not hugely enamoured by union Unite holding their twelve day cabin crew strike over Christmas and new year. When the company is in nine figures of debt, taking sustained industrial action at the time of year that'll do most harm to both its revenue and public image doesn't seem a particularly clever way of securing jobs for the future.

According to the press, it seems there are members of the union feeling the same; the London Evening Standard reports that staff members are voicing their concerns on a private website called BASSA (British Airlines Stewards and Stewardessess Association) which is operated by Unite. Quotes from BA staff members include:

"I understand the need to act now and show our resolve asap, but I and many others I have spoken to today really believe the Christmas dates are not doing us any favours for the cause. I am seriously thinking January would have been better. The public backlash is already enormous... I am always with the union, but I have a horrible feeling they may have got this one wrong."


"Twelve days over the Christmas period was a step too far. I certainly wasn't aware that in voting to strike it would be 12 days and have to say I was shocked. I will of course fulfil my decision to strike but I feel physically sick at the thought."

Meanwhile the Daily Mail has sharpened its pitchfork and lit the torches in a bid to fan the flames of dissent amongst BA customers, by claiming key union figures spend their time living in Los Angeles and running kitchen businesses during their rest days. Burn the witch! Then drown the witch! Baying mob, please form an orderly queue here.

TOPICS:   Travel


  • James
    First in the queue
  • Warwick H.
    Its the usual management / press / Govt dirty tricks smear campaign against any union that tries to protect its members. For a union to take action as drastic as this something must be sadly wrong with B.A. as an employer.
  • Emma
    I heard a piece on the radio yesterday which included an interview with one of the British Airways air hostesses. She was quoted some salary figures from somewhere, I think it was the civil aviation authority. She was basically calling them a fabricated pack of lies. Not very professional.
  • Ben T.
    Whats not professional? If someone asked me if I earnt £200,000 a year when I don't I think I would have had the same reaction. The strike is a stupid idea as even the threat of it is causing people to look elsewhere (my next three flights to the US for work are now all with KLM rather than BA).
  • magicbeans
    im flying with BA in june/july. am really cacking it though.... went with them thinking they professional and trustowrthy....certainly dont feel that way now
  • Gilo
    If your not happy with your pay/conditions/employer/changes. LEAVE get another job, don't strike at christmas ( or any other time ) resign, theres plenty of people out of work DESPERATE for a chance of work, myself included, if BA go bust the striking staff should be treated as intentionally making themselves unemployed and recieve no state assistance.
  • grex9101
    @Gilo Are you a French cheese eating surrender monkey? When only way workers can exercise their right to fair treatment is to strike then maybe we should be blaming the BA directors. If everyone just left then conditions would get worse. Just because you earn minimum wage and have no transferable skills doesn't mean everyone is in the same boat.
  • Nobby
    Court has said strike is illegal.
  • lars m.
    The cabin staff have been completely manipulated into this mess by the Unite bosses. The decision by cabin staff to initiate an industrial action (strike) was made without knowledge from those submitting the ballot that the strike would be 12 days (instead of the usual 3) and that the strike would be over the Christmas period. This vague nature of the ballot question was to insure the highest number of crew acceptance…but only after the results of the balloting was calculated did Unite bosses announce the duration and start date of the strike. These goofball bosses should be sacked and charged with criminal waste of everyone's time. The airline industry is better off with a financially healthy BA which allows for more options for the consumer and better conditions for the companies 48′000 worldwide employees (which are amongst the best paid in the sector). This strike is not in the best interest in either the short term or long term, of anyone (other than competitor airlines) and the Unite bosses must know this. Maybe a more realistic ballot question should have been “Are you for industrial action which will surely run your employer into the ground, ruin any public good will and find yourself applying for entry level work with Ryanair?”
  • Willy W.
    Result! Now get back to work you whining bunch of fucks! I've got 800 fully qualified airline staff knocking on my door for jobs. Pull your socks up and crack on, or you know where the door is. Pricks!
  • James
    @ Warwick yes there is something wrong with BA as an employer. They have no money and will go bust without significant cost cuts.
  • DavtT
    Its time for the BA staff to realise that their jobs and the very high rates of pay stem from the fact that BA has been a very successful airline IN THE PAST. Now BA is on its knees (admittedly, not because of the staff, )its not the time for industrial disputes its time for acomodation and pay cuts. The reality is BA staff are overpaid againt the industry average and the sooner they realise that the better. BA either needs to reduce staff, get staff to work harder or a combination of both. BA exists to make a profit not to employ people - if it loses money it must be able to manage and lose people. The 12 day strike would have probably killed BA off and with it a potentially successful business. BA staff - wake up and stop behaving like twats!

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