UPDATED - strike action in the air for British Airways

12 March 2010

Finally, after months of foreplay with British Airways, Unite finally look like they're going to get it on. The union, which represents many of the airline's staff, has called a press conference for later this morning. While not confirmed yet, it's thought that union representatives will announce formal strike action. Unite has to announce any intended action by this Monday, and British Airways have not announced any breakthrough in negotiations, so it's looking very likely.

Unite has been squaring up to the airline for months, over changes to working conditions for longhaul cabin crew. After the threat of Christmas strikes passed without incident, they now have a legal ballot behind them and can give seven day's notice before taking strike action. According to the BBC, Unite have promised not to strike over the Easter holidays - the first two to three weeks of Easter. That means if industrial action is announced today, it may curtail BA flights from next Friday (19th) through to the end of the month.

If strikes go ahead, British Airways will continue to operate some flights. If has trained 1,000 volunteers as cabin crew to act as replacements (christ, it'll be like Celebair, but with cabin crew who are somehow less well known), and is considering hiring in staff from other airlines. BA has stated flights from London City Airport will not be affected, and that over two thirds of flights from Gatwick should run to schedule. No guarantees can be made about any routes operating out of Heathrow until the strike is declared.

Industrial action is likely to take its toll on domestic and shorthaul flights first - the public line is that there are more travel options available to passengers travelling shorter distances, but BA won't want to lose loyal longhaul custom to their competitors. If you are booked on board a BA flight that is likely to be affected, you can find out what your options are on the British Airways website.

UPDATE: From Unite's official statement:

“Strikes are planned for March 20, 21 and 22 and further on March 27, 28, 29 and 30. There will be no strikes over the Easter period, as we already promised, but further industrial action will be called to take place after April 14 if the dispute has not been resolved."

British Airways has already begun posting details of affected flights on its website.

TOPICS:   Travel


  • Common_Sense
    Let's hope that when BA go into administration, none of the cabin crew complain about losing their jobs. They are paid twice the going rate of Virgin's superior staff. 50% more than any other UK based airline. What's that about?
  • dinosaurs_and_hitler
    I hope BA's cabin staff die in a terrorist attack.
  • Farzana
    Okay I'm looking for a career change train me up, I'll take half their wages and do the job twice as well....
  • Mark
    Serious question here, if Ryanair and the like dont accept or recognise Trade Unions, why cant BA just turn around and say we dont recognise Trade Unions anymore? Is there something stopping them doing this? Because Im sure if they did, they're staff would soon shut up, and realise how good they have it in comparision to Virgin etc,...
  • DavtT
    BA staff are gambling on the belief that the British government will NOT allow BA to go to the wall - they need to wise up because thats whats going to happen. They have had it easy and its time to wake up!!
  • Fishhugger
    dinosaurs_and_hitler: you, sir, are a jerkwad of the highest order. Wishing death on anyone shows that you are an immature toddler with no respect for anything. Much as I feel that there is a special place in hell waiting for the Unite union and those that voted for this strike, wishing what you did beggars belief. The quality and maturity of commenters on this site is questionable at the best of times but you... Me, a thesaurus and a week couldn't find appropriate words. May the police come knocking on your door at 2AM for what you've written.
  • Melly
    I agree, with Fishhugger, the statement made by dinosaurs_and_hitler is horrible and reveals you have an IQ of about 12. I hope that next time you go to the toilet, it tears your hole a little bit.
  • dinosaurs_and_hitler_and_a_barrel_of_lube
    Fishhugger. You couldn't even find the appropriate words in the sentence "Me [sic], a thesaurus and a week couldn’t find appropriate words.". I don't think a further week of searching the depths of your mind would garner better results. "May the police come knocking on your door at 2AM for what you’ve written.". I'm glad you believe in freedom of speech. May I take this opportunity to add that I hope that a plane full of BA cabin crew is flown into Unite's Headquarters by Ian Huntley. Good day to sir.
  • Melly
    Excuse me, I insulted you too. Take the piss out of me please!
  • Mark P.
    I hope that the Unite union members get face-raped by Nazis until they are unconscious ;-)
  • Instant E.
    [...] UPDATED – strike action in the air for British Airways | BitterWallet [...]
  • -]
    "volunteers" who'll work for free - fucking mugs, as well as scabs. Unite are toothless as well, refusing to plan strikes over easter. Selling out their members. Good luck to all union-members involved in the strike.
  • andyofyarm
    I think this time a strike could well backfire for the cabin crew.Too many people are waiting to do these jobs for less money.BA might just go it and break Unite's grip.
  • Kevin
    This is exactly when I am leaving and coming back from New York, but with Virgin because there was no way I was going to touch BA with a bargepole.
  • Passenger B.
    [...] British Airways is this afternoon expected to roll details for operations during the upcoming strikes by cabin crew. The airline is expecting to operate roughly 70 per cent of all scheduled flights, with most [...]
  • British B.
    [...] Union Unite is to begin another ballot of its members, which includes cabin staff, with regards to further industrial action. The threat of strikes has hung over BA since last November, and the latest action could see staff walking out at the end of January. At this time last year, the union was attempting to disrupt travel over Christmas until their ballot was deemed illegal, so instead strikes happened occurred the Easter break instead. [...]

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