Posts Tagged ‘Easter’

BA calls in psychologist for union negotiations

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

The ongoing conflict between British Airways and the union representing it cabin crew could soon be over as a clinical psychologist is brought in to help. The Unite union has until the weekend to let BA know whether there will be disruption over the Easter weekend. Last month, crew members voted for a fourth time to walk out if the airline did not offer to concede to demands.

Mark Hamlin, who claims to specialise in fragility of trust, has reportedly met with senior members of the airline and union bosses. He said that he was involved with helping Unite, BA and cabin crew representatives construct a more effective working relationship. He added that he hoped that in doing this the wider issues surrounding the conflict would be resolved.

It is thought that a resolution is more likely now that former BA boss Willie Walsh has been removed from the equation. Keith Williams replaced him as chief executive at the beginning of the year and has expressed a wish for a good working relationship with the airline’s cabin crew.

Unite has until the weekend to inform BA of any strike action and also has to give seven days notice. Unfortunately for the carrier’s customers this could result in disruption over the Easter weekend.

Last year there were 22 days of strike action. BA claims that contingency plans it has in place mean that even if cabin crew do walk out nearly all of its scheduled services will continue to run as normal.

Parents feel the squeeze of extra holidays

Monday, April 11th, 2011

The extended holidays this Easter, including the extra bank holiday for the Royal Wedding, are causing a financial headache for many parents who have to find extra money for child care and to keep their children entertained when they are not in the classroom. Liverpool Victoria, a leading insurance firm, has estimated that the extra childcare alone is going to cost an extra £206 million.

Child related costs over the bank holidays and Easter will total around £3.5 billion, according to the insurer. Researchers found that just under a quarter of all parents wanted to cut back and that well over a third considered this year’s holidays unaffordable. Liverpool Victoria’s Mark Jones said 13 weeks of holidays every year meant that there was a great deal of financial pressure on parents to keep their offspring entertained.

Liverpool Victoria estimates that £18.8 billion will be spent on children over the school holidays this year. This works out at $1,429 per child. Approximately £12 billion will be spent on entertainment and £6.9 billion will go towards childcare.

As parents continue to feel the squeeze on their finances 55 per cent told researchers that they would not be able to take their family abroad for a holiday this year. For some, even a holiday at home is not financially viable with 29 per cent saying they would not even be able to justify the expense of a break in the UK.

Another report by Liverpool Victoria estimates that the cost of bringing up a child to the age of 21 is around £210,000.

UK airlines hit out at Spanish airport strike threat

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

A decision by airport workers in Spain to go ahead with a number of planned strikes could spell misery for many Brits planning to visit the country over Easter. Last year, Spain was the most popular destination with holidaymakers from the UK with 28 million boarding planes to soak up some sun, according to the CAA.

The walkouts have been announced because airport staff are unhappy with the government’s plans to privatise the country’s airports authority, Aena. If the industrial action gets the go-ahead, strikes could start on 20 April and run through the summer. Additional travel misery could be added if air traffic controllers also decide to walk out in support. This would mean the closure of Spanish airspace and disruption to services flying to Malta and Portugal.

Ryanair has said that it would be forced to cancel 300 flights over Easter if the strikes happen. This would affect 57,000 passengers. Because it serves 17 airports in Spain, easyJet would also be hit hard by the industrial action.

Michael O’Leary, Ryanair’s CEO, has already demanded that the Spanish government prevents the stoppages. He said that the airline had also contacted the EU over the matter. He added that the Aena workers were behaving in a selfish manner.

British Airways, also being threatened with strike action by its cabin crew, has also been in contact with the Spanish authorities over the issue. The flag-carrier said it would do everything in its power to make sure that its customers suffered as little disruption as possible.

British Airways cabin crew to vote on industrial action

Monday, February 14th, 2011

British Airways cabin crew are preparing to go to the polls once more to vote on whether further strikes are deemed necessary. The airline and its employees have been engaged in a battle over working conditions, pay and travel privileges since the end of 2009. If crew members decide to vote in favour of a walkout, disruption could potentially upset the plans of those aiming to travel with the airline at Easter or over the bank holiday marking the wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton.

Leader of Unite, Len McCluskey, has said it is unlikely that members will want to strike over the holiday period, but if they do, they will receive his full support.

Last year saw 22 days of industrial action cost BA around £150 million. The flag-carrier has since employed ancillary staff to make sure that all of its long-haul services will operate as usual in the event of a strike. A recent ballot was declared invalid after lawyers for the airline made objections over how the ballot was conducted.

A spokesman for BA urged Unite to go back to a deal struck at the end of last year. Although union bosses agreed that deal, more militant members said it remained unacceptable.

Although the recent vote was not declared valid, 5,700 union members appear to have been keen to continue their fight with BA. The latest ballot is expected to be conducted before the end of this month meaning strike action could take place as soon as April.

Avis offers Easter travel solutions

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

With a Royal Wedding adding an extra bank holiday to the calendar at Easter, Avis is offering car hire customers the opportunity to enjoy the beauty spots and historic sites of the UK. For those who do not own a vehicle, or who are tempted to try a different driving experience, car rental can be a convenient and economically sensible option.

By signing up for the Avis Preferred deal customers are guaranteed that the car keys will be handed over within three minutes of making their presence known at the rental station or a twenty pound note will.

The company’s head of marketing in the UK, Nick Mountfield, said: “Easter is always a very popular time of year to go away, but with the Royal Wedding happening this year, more people are choosing to holiday here instead. The extra bank holidays mean that by booking three days off work, Britons can actually have a whole week’s break and we’re already seeing more demand as people rush to firm up their travel plans. The UK has thousands of fantastic holiday destinations that are ideal for days out, weekends away and longer holidays, so we’re encouraging holidaymakers to make the most of their time off and explore the UK.”

Avis is extremely competitive with its rates, and customers can drive away with a vehicle for as little as £16 per day.

Mountfield added: “We’re definitely seeing a demand for booking early this Easter, so I’d urge customers to think ahead and book now in order to guarantee their vehicle of choice this April.”

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.

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.