Business Irish

Sunday 24 September 2017

Fears Christmas travellers will be impacted as BA cabin crew may go on strike next week

Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire
Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Thousands of cabin crew at British Airways could go on strike as early as next week, scuppering the plans of travellers over Christmas.

Over 2,500 staff members who crew long and short-haul flights with the airline, part of the IAG group that also owns Aer Lingus, have rejected a 2pc pay offer from the carrier.

In a ballot, 79pc of those that took part voted in favour of strike action.

Trade union Unite said the workers could engage in industrial action after December 21.

The action would only be taken by BA’s so-called ‘mixed-fleet’ crew that operates out of London Heathrow. The ballot did not include BA cabin crew at other locations.

It appears that none of the destinations operated by the mixed-crew at Heathrow include routes to Ireland.

BA advertises average earnings of between £21,000 and £25,000 a year for its Heathrow-based mixed fleet crew members. That comprises a starting salary of £12,192 per annum, an hourly payment when flying, bonuses for achieving performance targets, and commission for inflight retail sales.

Unite regional officer Matt Smith claimed the pay rates are “indefensible” and that cabin crew are “at breaking point”.

“Mixed fleet crew earn just over the minimum wage and below the national average,” he said.

“Significant numbers of crew are taking on second jobs, many go to work unfit to fly because they can’t afford to be sick,” he insisted.

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