Posts Tagged ‘Len McCluskey’

British Airways crew vote to end hostilities

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

The majority of British Airways cabin crew have voted in favour of accepting a peace-deal from the airline which will end nearly two year’s of dispute. Trade union Unite and BA announced that they had come to an agreement in May which was then subject to a vote by the flag carrier’s staff.

The long running fight began after BA announced staffing and pay cuts. It soon escalated into a battle for the restoration of travel perks confiscated from those involved in strike action. A total of 22 days of walkouts last year is estimated to have cost the airline £150 million.

Under the new deal staff will get up to a 7.5 per cent pay rise over two years. This year they will receive a rise of up to 4 per cent and next year they will get up to 3.5 per cent. The agreement is linked to productivity changes. All those who had their travel perks taken away are to have them restored.

Unite’s general secretary, Len McCluskey has called the agreement honourable adding that Unite had always maintained that a resolution would be achieved through negotiation rather than conflict. He went on to say that as 92 per cent of workers had voted in favour of the deal the airline could now move on to build a bright future.

It is widely agreed that changes at the top of both BA and Unite helped to facilitate better relations between the airline and the union. BA is still to make an official statement.

Cabin crew vote on latest BA deal

Monday, May 30th, 2011

British Airways passengers will be crossing their fingers that the longest running industrial dispute at the airline could soon be over. Ballot papers will be sent out to the cabin crew along with a letter from the Unite union’s general secretary, Len McCluskey, recommending a yes vote for the latest deal being offered by BA. The troubles began 18 months ago when cabin crew voted to walk out over pay and staffing issues.

Willie Walsh, the then chief executive, decided to punish those involved by initiating disciplinary action and removing travel perks. This quickly became the focus of the dispute and the latest agreement, put together by the airline’s current boss, Keith Williams, and Unite leader, Len McCluskey, promises to restore the privileges and take the disciplinary cases to Acas.

Cabin crew meeting at Heathrow earlier in the month voted in favour of putting the deal to Unite’s members. The closing date is 22 June. Mr McCluskey said he did not think either side could claim a victory and that the real winner was simple common sense. A positive vote will see the threat of action by crew over the busy summer period lifted.

Fresh hope of a deal between BA and Unite came after changes at the top of both organisations. Willie Walsh, now boss of International Airlines Group, the parent company of BA, has been replaced by Keith Williams and Len McCluskey has taken over from Derek Simpson and Tony Woodley at Unite.

McCluskey described the change in management at BA as a change in psyche.

British Airways cabin crew strikes could be over

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

British Airways passengers could soon breathe a sigh of relief as the disruptive battle between the airline and its cabin crew may finally be at an end. BA and Unite union bosses have reportedly agreed on a deal which they will be recommending to staff later today. It is believed that the airline may finally have backed down on the sticky issue of travel perks and agreed to return them to union members.

One of the longest running industrial disputes in recent history began 18 months ago when BA decided to implement cost cutting measures and reduce crew on some services. Following initial walkouts BA announced that striking staff would be relieved of their travel concessions, a move which resulted in deadlock between the two parties.

Late last year, a glimmer of hope that the fighting was finally at an end came when former chief executive of BA, Willie Walsh, and former Unite leader, Tony Woodley, agreed terms at the negotiating table. However, hard liners at BASSA, the Unite arm representing stewards and stewardesses, refused to accept the deal.

Since then, Mr Walsh has been replaced by Keith Williams and Len McCluskey now heads Unite. Although cabin crew recently voted to stage further walkouts, Unite has been cautious about officially announcing strike dates and BA has been willing to extend the time in which these dates legally have to be announced.

This has led many to believe that, at last, both the airline and the union believe they can come to a mutually beneficial solution to the problem.

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.