May 12, 2011
| BA on the up after dispute dealBritish Airways has achieved a victory, albeit, at a considerable cost, that should stand it in good stead after cabin crew backed a deal to end the longest and most bitter dispute in the transport sector for years.Union had achieved an “honourable settlement” and pledged to work in a “spirit of partnership” to repair damage to the airline’s brand.Keith Williams, BA’s recently appointed chief executive, for being “strong, brave and courageous” in reaching the agreement.The settlement includes a two-year pay deal worth up to 7.5 per cent. It comprises an inflation-linked rise of up to 4 per cent this year, including 1.1 per cent dependent on productivity savings, and 3.5 per cent next, including 0.5 per cent dependent on savings.The dispute started over cost-cutting but developed into a row over travel concessions removed from Unite members who went on strike, as well as suspensions and dismissals. The union was powerless to stop the original cause of the dispute – 1,700 full-time job losses among cabin crew as BA removed at least one crew member from most long-haul flights, saving £63m a year.It has also hired 700 new crew in its so called “mixed fleet” on certain routes, earning £17,000 a year on average compared with £29,000 for existing Heathrow cabin crew. That programme should yield £160m annual savings within a decade.“I think there is no question that it is a victory for British Airways but it comes at a cost,” said Douglas McNeill, at Charles Stanley Securities.Andrew Lobbenberg at RBS said “the economics of the dispute were won by BA about nine months ago” and it had gained “the credibility of being firm”.
| Unread (Ft.com)Public View, Banks
| May 12, 2011
| Union welcomes BA deal that avoids humiliationUnion officials accused the company of “holding a gun” to the heads of staff and in December that year, cabin crew announced a 12-day strike over Christmas after a 9-1 vote in favour of industrial action. High Court ruled that the strike could not go ahead because Unite had balloted hundreds of members who had subsequently left the company. March last year that the first three-day strike began after a second ballot. There were 22 days of strikes in total last spring, costing the airline an estimated £150m but BA managed to keep most of its customers flying. Some blamed Mr Walsh’s intransigence for prolonging the dispute but analysts praised him for preparing well. The airline had enough cash to fight a long battle and used a volunteer workforce, as well as aircraft hired from other airlines, to keep flights going.There was relief among Unite’s cabin crew members on Thursday that a formula had been found to end the dispute without more humiliation. An agreement come to reject by Bassa, Unite’s main cabin crew branch, this is due to the Mr Walsh said Unite had a “dysfunctional” relationship with Bassa, which operates largely autonomous.
| Unread (Ft.com)Union views AND Cabin crew views
| 14 May 2011
| BA workers vote to ballot on new dealOver 500 union members gathered for a mass meeting about the deal in West London today.Best summed up by one worker who said, "The press and BA have damned us. But we have come out on top—they should say that."There will also be a pay increase totalling 7.5 percent over two years—4 percent this year, backdated, and 3.5 percent next year. It is unclear whether there are productivity requirements attached. Management has also agreed that there will be no unilateral imposition of any new terms and conditions without full negotiations with the union. But a thread of uncertainty ran through the contributions from cabin crew during and after the meeting.Unite general secretary Len McCluskey told the meeting the sackings were "nonsensical". But the agreement does not include the full reinstatement of the sacked staff. Mc Cluskey said, All it agrees to is binding arbitration. And those who have already been through an...
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