Posts Tagged ‘cabin crew’

IAG prepares for drop in demand in the Middle East

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

The newly formed International Airlines Group has announced a €90 million net profit for the final quarter of last year ending 31 December. The figure is an improvement on a deficit of €130 million recorded for the same period a year earlier. The reversal of fortune is mainly due to better yields and revenue on a limited growth in capacity.

IAG’s chief executive, former BA boss Willie Walsh, said the airline was following the events in the Middle East and watching for the impact on the price of oil. He added that the group was prepared to begin reducing capacity in the region if the price of oil began affecting demand.

Both Iberia and BA recently passed on around 50 per cent of the increasing price of oil to customers as a fuel surcharge. However, the airlines claim that so far they have not seen any significant drop in demand from passengers on long-haul services. Walsh went on to say that if Middle Eastern traffic was to fall away it would only affect some six per cent of IAG’s business.

The group said it continued to see strong performance in its long-haul services across the board, especially in the premium sector. Short-haul business in Europe is however still struggling against extremely strong competition, especially from the budget carriers.

Before completing the merger with Iberia, BA was able to turn a loss of £245 million in 2009 into £170 million net profit in 2010. This was despite continuing problems with cabin crew, air traffic control strikes and disruption caused by severe winter weather in December.

British Airways faces fresh wave of strikes

Monday, January 24th, 2011

British Airways customers planning to go away with the airline over the school half-term or at Easter may have to rethink their plans as cabin crew once again vote in favour of industrial action. Although no dates have yet been confirmed, the union has not ruled out staging strikes over the holidays.

The latest ballot to strike was supported by 78.5 per cent of those who turned out. According to Len McCluskey, the general secretary elect of Unite, the vote proves that staff at BA are still unhappy with the way in which they are being treated.

In October last year it looked as if the long-running row between BA and the union had come to an end as the airline’s chief executive, Willie Walsh, and joint general secretary of Unite, Tony Woodley, finally agreed on a solution. However, more militant members of the union were not happy and called for the latest ballot.

According to a spokesman for BA the latest ballot was only supported by 43 per cent of crew members. He added that since the dispute started 2,500 members of the airline’s cabin crew have actually left the union. He went on to say that contrary to what union bosses claim, the percentage of those voting in favour of industrial action is falling every time a ballot is announced.

He urged Unite to look again at the deal which was agreed in October pointing out that it guaranteed pay rises for staff over the coming two years and secured conditions which are already the best in the British airline industry.

BA accused of bullying by Unite

Monday, January 10th, 2011

A survey conducted by the union representing the interests of British Airways’ cabin crew suggests that most employees of the airline have witnessed or been the subject of bullying. The result of the poll of 2,000 employees is unlikely to ease tensions between the flag-carrier and its staff.

A dispute between cabin crew and the airline is entering its third year with no sign of a resolution. The row started out as a protest against staffing cuts, but has since morphed into a battle over travel perks. If the latest vote is in favour of industrial action then cabin crew could walk out by the end of January.

Tony Woodley, Unites outgoing general secretary, urged BA boss Willie Walsh to return to the negotiating table. He said the company’s war on its workforce was ruining what was once a great airline. BA has assured passengers that if fresh strike action goes ahead it will still be running all long-haul flights. Services will also not be affected at either Gatwick or City airports.

Len McCluskey, Unites new leader, will be talking to members of the union at a meeting at Kempton Park today. He is expected to announce his total support for BA’s cabin crew for as long as it takes them to reach a deal with the carrier.

A spokeswoman for BA said it completely disagreed with any accusations of bullying in the workplace. She added that the carrier had very strict regulations in place for dealing with such behaviour and that these regulations had been agreed upon with Unite.

New British Airways strike could happen during Royal Wedding

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Leaders of the union representing British Airways cabin crew have said they cannot rule out the possibility of industrial action during peak holiday periods in the first part of the New Year. If the result of a new ballot is for fresh strikes then the half-term holiday is under threat as is Easter and Prince William’s wedding on 29 April.

Unite’s militant leader, Len McCluskey, warned families against booking with BA. The latest strike ballot will begin next week and is set to run until 21 January. After this, assuming the vote is in favour, Unite will need to give BA a weeks notice that strikes will take place. Those strikes can then happen over a period of three months before a new vote is called.

Mr McCluskey has made no secret of the fact that he is in favour of industrial action to prove a point. He is well known for saying that he feels strikes can never be irresponsible and has also challenged the strike laws in the UK.

In parliament Prime Minister David Cameron has condemned the hard-line leader for his attitude adding that he could not believe Mr McCluskey had been voted into the top position of one of the largest unions in the country.

The disagreement between Unite members and BA began last November when the airline introduced plans to reduce cabin crew numbers on flights and freeze wages. Since then the fight has focused on issues such as the confiscation of travel perks and punishment of union members taking part in industrial action.

British Airways announces passenger increase

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

Following the devastation of the world’s banking crisis in which business travellers all but disappeared, British Airways has announced that, in October, it carried 4.6 per cent more premium class passengers than in the same month a year ago. Overall, passenger numbers were up for the airline by 3.9 per cent on last October. However, load factor was reduced by a percentage point for the month to 79.8 per cent.

Total passenger numbers increased from 2.76 million last October to 2.95 million this year. The number of passengers travelling in non-premium seats was also up by 3.7 per cent on a year ago.

The Court of Appeal this week delivered its ruling on BA’s decision to reduce the number of cabin crew it dedicates to services flying out of London’s main airport, Heathrow. A year ago, BA announced it would be reducing staff numbers as a cost cutting measure. Cabin crew union Unite rejected that plan claiming it would be in breach of contract and brought the case in front of the High Court.

The High Court found in favour of BA, but Unite was not content. The matter was then sent to the Court of Appeal. On Wednesday, the appellate court announced it would be upholding the decision of the High Court.

British Airways said it was pleased that its modest changes to crew numbers could remain in place and that it had been vindicated over the contracts issue. However, Unite is soon to ballot cabin crew members over possible future strike action.

Rail strike could affect millions

Friday, March 26th, 2010

Millions of rail passengers face Easter travel chaos in the first national rail strike in 16 years. The unions RMT and TSSA have called out thousands of members for the four days straight after the bank holiday. 

National Rail claims the strike is timed to cause maximum pain and disruption to passengers. Approximately 5,000 signallers are to walk off the job for two four-hour spells each day from April 6. This will also affect families during the Easter school holiday period.

Meanwhile, 13,000 maintenance workers will also walk off the job for four days from Tuesday morning. Overtime and rest-day working is also banned. At the same time, a strike ballot is being threatened by the RMT on the London Underground in a dispute over job cuts.

This weekend, air travellers also face a four day strike by cabin crew, with the prospect of the union, Unite, calling on members to strike again after April 14. The strikes will place further pressure on PM Gordon Brown by bringing back memories of the 1970s union strife which is expected to kick-start the General Election campaign.

It will also shift the focus on Labour’s links with the unions.  The Tories claimed last night that the TSSA had given the party £350,000 since the last election. The strikes come after a breakdown of talks between the RMT, TSSA and Network Rail over proposed plans to cut 1,300 maintenance jobs as part of a £5 billion money saving scheme.

British Airways still aiming to avoid strike

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

Britain’s flagship carrier has just recently put forward a final minute counter offer as negotiations continue over an imminent cabin crew strike.  The airline has hit back at Unite union’s offer of a 2.6 per cent pay reduction with its own demands.  Unite has said that it hold concerns over the offer and have proposed further cost savings in the form of more cabin crew working part time for the company.

The union said that it understood that BA had accepted a partial repeal of cuts to staffing levels on flights, however wants fewer crew on board that Unite has proposed.  In yet another twist, the union also wants BA to clear 37 staff who are facing disciplinary action over issues related to the ongoing industrial dispute.

The TUC, which is holding these talks, had set a deadline of 5pm yesterday to achieve a deal.  Both sides are willing to extend the discussion if a deal is on the cards, but the outcome of the talks would not be known for some time.

The airline is chasing £60 million in annual cost savings from cabin crew, with the sum achieved by reducing staffing levels in November.  Earlier this week, Unite submitted its own proposal for the saving of the £60 million, which included pay cuts, partial repeal of staffing cuts and the acceptance of new recruits at a lower rate of pay.

A strike could take place as early as next Wednesday if talks do not reach some kind of agreement.  The union is required to give BA a seven day notice of strike action.  The airline has planned to break the strike with 1000 volunteer cabin crew members which have been trained from BA’s workforce of 38,000.

Union close to reaching a deal with British Airways

Friday, March 5th, 2010

Thousands of passengers are expected to find out today whether their travel plans are to be disrupted by strike action.

The Unite union representing British Airways hosties claims that they are close to reaching an agreement with the airline that could avert an upcoming strike, however have hit out at comments said by chief executive of the airline Willie Walsh.

The dispute commenced last autumn after the airline unveiled plans to freeze pay and cut around 1700 flight attendant positions, reducing the number of crew on board jumbo jets from 15 to 14.

On Wednesday, Walsh said that airline was prepared as they could be.  By next week the airline will have 1000 non cabin crew staff prepared to fly and expects to train up to 6000 staff members so that it could cope with any industrial action.

Mr Walsh said that the plans were to protect the travel arrangement of customers, and are better than many people have imagined possible in the difficult conditions that a strike would cause.

He went on to say that all long haul flights operating out of London’s Gatwick Airport and half of all short haul flights out of the airport would be unaffected, however it remains unclear how badly the strike would affect services out of Heathrow.

As he was speaking, the airline was still in discussions with the unions, with talks continuing today.

British Airways cabin crew pics end up on porn site

Friday, February 26th, 2010

Images have been leaked onto a porn website allegedly showing British Airways cabin crew in sexy poses.

The images were said to have been taken by staff that were fooling around on aircraft and were meant for their friends’ eyes only, it was reported.

However, the pictures emerged on a hard-core porn website yesterday, embarrassing the women involved.

The photos reveal the cabin crew, wearing distinctive red, white and blue uniforms, lifting up their skirts to show their stockings and bottoms.

One source said that they were never intended to get out and never had occurred if they knew it would end up on a porn site.

British Airways says that it would investigate any employees found posing for such images.

But it said that there was no evidence that any of the women work for the carrier.

The news comes just days after cabin crew voted in favour of a strike over working conditions and pay cuts, with a possible date for a stop work taking place in March.  The potential strikes could affect thousands of passengers, however the union has pledged that it would not take any action during the peak Easter travel period.

Talks have been on going with the airline and the union, Unite, and a possible negotiation could be reached soon.

Easter strikes likely for British Airways cabin crew

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Passengers travelling on British Airways flights could experience Easter travel chaos, as cabin crew for beleaguered UK flagship carrier will vote again on a fresh strike next month, according to union Unite.

The union will hold a fresh ballot of its members after recent negotiations with the airlines failed to find a resolution to the long-running dispute.

The airline said it was saddened but not surprised by the decision, but promised to continue talks.

A 12 day strike was originally planned over the Christmas peak travel period, however it was blocked by the High Court, which declared the strike illegal as members who had already accepted redundancies or who were no longer working with the airline took part in the ballot.

The union representing the cabin crew is in a dispute with British Airways over changes to cabin crew staffing levels on long-haul flights, a pay freeze and working conditions.

Assistant general secretary of Unite, Len McCluskey, said that intensive discussions between the union and the airline had failed to secure an agreement.

McCluskey added that the Union must honour their commitment to the members and provide a voice which had been denied by the courts prior to Christmas, and hold a fresh ballot for industrial action.

He did not rule out further talks with British Airways.

The airline said the decision to call the ballot into question Unite’s ‘good faith’ in recent negotiations which had said were designed to resolve the dispute without disruptions.

The struggling airline lost over £400 million in 2009 following a dramatic drop in the demand for air travel, especially premium class fares, resulting from the recession.

The airline has taken a tough stance, saying that it will not allow Unite to ruin British Airways, and believe they have the support of customers and the vast majority of staff in that objective.