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BA Strike - Your Thoughts & Questions II

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BA Strike - Your Thoughts & Questions II

Old 11th Jun 2010, 09:47
  #41 (permalink)  
 
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The challenge BASSA must face.

This has been posted on the CC forum by BLUEUPGOOD and is in response to a striker who claims the usual "its not fair, they're all against us, it's all Willie's fault" argument.

Hi Fabio,

welcome to the debate - it's always good to hear a new opinion. Can I offer you another perspective on all of this? If one listens to what BASSA has to say, then the CC have been bullied, harassed, victimised, etc etc. Fabio, can you give evidence of your mistreatment? I accept your argument that withdrawing staff travel can be seen as singling out those who chose to strike, and I think it is reasonable to want to contest this. However that is the nature of industrial disputes, and BASSA would have been more responsible if they had warned you of the realities, rather than tell you BA can't do it. They can, and they have, and that part of the dispute will run it's course. But bullying? Harassment? I see no evidence of it on the part of BA. Indeed I would suggest BA have been immensely patient, whilst BASSA have frankly prevaricated and denied reality , and in the process done you and your colleagues a huge disservice.

It is clearly stated in your contract of employment that contact with the media must have the approval of BA. It's the same in every PLC across the land. That doesn't mean BA are trying to harass or gag you, and before the dispute did anyone give that clause in your contract a second thought? No, but BASSA are trying to subvert BA in every way possible, and frankly their claims don't add up.

Fabio, you may have read about some unfortunate comments by BA pilots in the papers. They are now suspended, and are in the disciplinary process that is clearly set out in BA's employment guidlines. There are also CC members in the same process, for other misdemeanors, some with a criminal investigation likely to follow. Are the BA pilots being bullied too? Can you explain why it is ok for UNITE to demand the cases against CC be dropped, but not those against the pilots? Can you tell me why UNITE don't want to follow the disciplinary process that they themselves signed up to before this dispute? Why was it ok a couple of years ago, but not now? Disciplinaries have been taking place for years, over all sorts of allegations. The vast majority find no case to answer, or a chat with a manager for a minor indiscretion. If you push your luck and bring the company into disrepute, or are willfully negligent, then you could be sacked, but the process has been deemed to be fair by UNITE.
I assume you have been absent from work on strike days Fabio. I'd like to tell you this, and I mean it with all sincerity, and without bias.. I have talked to many crew who also exercised their democratic right - the right not to go on strike. They are all concerned, some are terrified of the strikers. They are receiving threats of damage to cars, revelations of private matters to partners, exclusion onboard and down route, having their meals tampered with, being called scum and scab etc etc. THIS IS bullying and harassment. THIS IS against BA policy, and SHOULD be the subject of disciplinary action against the perpetrators.

Fabio if you want fairness, could I ask you to consider this. Every other department in BA has made a significant contribution to the undeniable crisis the company is in. Staff across the airline have changed working practices, taken pay cuts, lost T&C's etc. Permanently. Period. BASSA will tell you otherwise, but it's undeniable fact, and if you are in doubt, then why not ask a TRC how their life has changed in the last few years. Or a CSA. Or (heaven forbid) a pilot, or tug driver, bus driver, manager (those that are still here) etc. They will ALL tell you of significant change. Unfortunately the CC (or should I say BASSA) think they are a special case, and this doesn't apply to them, and instead of making small changes that could have been satisfactory to everyone, they have instead cost the company £120m, destroyed our reputation, driven customers away, and caused great upheaval and further loss of earnings to all those who have already given their share to get BA on track again. Is that fair?

Finally, I would ask you consider this. BA is one of the most unionized businesses in the country. Every department is strongly represented, mostly by UNITE. I find it extraordinary that BASSA's actions have been willfully undermined by staff from across the airline. Not just pilots, as BASSA and UNITE love to claim, but by UNITE members.. in their thousands. Fabio can you explain why? Willie Walsh can't MAKE these union oriented individuals volunteer. They have decided to do it themselves. To subvert industrial action by members of their own union. Why Fabio? May I suggest it is because they see BASSA's expectations as way beyond reasonable? Because they recognize the plight of the company, and have done their bit? Because they don't want to see BASSA hold a gun to BA's head for ever and a day? Because, like Willie Walsh, the board of directors, the shareholders (who stated their support of WW today), and believe it or not many of our passengers, they want to ensure that BASSA don't get away with stamping their feet, and getting their own way yet again. It's far too serious for ego-centric selfish protectionism.

Fabio, as you are a first time poster here I hope I haven't been too harsh or dogmatic in my comments. I hope to show you another point of view from that repeated endlessly by BASSA. I would strongly urge any genuine ordinary CC member who has put their trust in BASSA to find out for themselves the truth of the situation. Ask questions of others. Be open to another point of view. Pause to consider why events have played out as they have. If at the end of the process you still stand with BASSA then fair enough.
It seems to me that if any striker, particularly a BASSA supporter, can read this and tick off a reasoned counter to all the many points BlueUpGood makes, then they can, perhaps, claim justification for their dispute. However, I believe this post to be the most telling and irrefutable argument in favour of BA I have read since the start of the dispute. Thus it is my guess that any such BASSA supporter would stand rather more chance of pushing butter up a cats bottom with a red hot needle than counter it.

Roger.
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Old 11th Jun 2010, 10:29
  #42 (permalink)  
 
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It seems to me that if any striker, particularly a BASSA supporter, can read this and tick off a reasoned counter to all the many points ...
That would be problematical! BASSA followers don't tend to read a thing of any importance - not from their company, not in the financial press - they only do or think what BASSA tells them. Unfortunately, that has led them to where they are now. Duncan Holley calls it:
... one of the longest strikes in aviation history ...
And probably the most ineffective in history for accomplishing anything for the supposed purposes of union members' interests. It has actually achieved the very opposite.

Will DH be proud enough to put that on his CV? Probably.
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Old 11th Jun 2010, 10:33
  #43 (permalink)  
 
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Blueupgood

Blueupgood's response to Fabio is a superb piece of logical prose & should be read by all as an explanation of why Bassa's IA is wrong. Any Bassa member reading this should resign from the union immediately.

It occurs to me that Bassa may have some ulterior motive in this dispute & actually want to bring BA to its' knees. I would be interested to know just how many of their leaders are/ were members of the Communist Party.
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Old 11th Jun 2010, 10:34
  #44 (permalink)  
 
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JAO, thanks for clarifying the situation, but it doesn't alter the fact that identifying oneself in an online vote favoured Unite, the organiser of said vote. That 28% you mention who abstained plus the few who did vote in favour could have tilted towards acceptance. Conjecture of course, in my considered opinion, ALL votes on such important issues should be secret to level the playing field.
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Old 11th Jun 2010, 11:05
  #45 (permalink)  
 
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@GC135

I recall - but cannot vouch for the veracity of - someone explaining that the way the on-line vote was conducted meant that ID had to be proved to be able to vote but thereafter the vote was not able to be linked to the ID.
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Old 11th Jun 2010, 11:25
  #46 (permalink)  

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BlueUpGood makes a very good job of telling it like it is, If I can add just one more angle:

The dispute was never about pay, it was about productivity. It was about the manning levels and about the restrictive practices which kept staff on the ground, being paid salary and allowances, when they could have been flying.

On one level, a union doesn’t care that much about its members’ pay but it does care HUGELY about productivity. Because better productivity means fewer people needed to do the same job, and fewer workers equals fewer union members, equals lower subscription income. And in the case of UNITE, less money to spend buying political influence.

And we are talking about an employee group which was massively under-productive compared to its industry peers. For any given cost-saving requirement, it was always going to be easier for BA to attack the productivity side of the job rather than the remuneration side.

If anyone can be bothered to read through it, what follows is my personal recollection of the ‘old way’ of doing things at BA, of which the current CC working practices are the last vestige.

Way back in the mists of time, I spent a year working on the BOAC check-in desks in Terminal 3 (it was called the Oceanic Terminal in those days). We worked a pattern of 6 on – a late-late (15:30 start), a late, two mids and two earlies (06:45 start) – followed by three days off. Normally, you were rostered to work individual flights, opening the desk 90 minutes before departure and closing the flight 45 minutes before. Usually, you did three flights per shift. The first one would be always at least a half-hour after your start, so as soon as you arrived you were sent for coffee. You got a long lunch break, another coffee break in the second half of your shift, and you were always sent home early, usually about two hours before you were due to finish, sometimes more.

The late-late was due to finish at 23:30. The last flight of the day was due to close at 21:45. Of the six shift members, four would be sent home around 20:30-21:00, the two unlucky ones rostered for the last flight would be guaranteed not to have it again next time. If the flight was delayed or for any reason you were still at work after 23:00 – a half-hour before you were due to finish – you were entitled to a car to take you home.

During your downtime, there were some other jobs you could be given – prepping your next flight , helping out where queues were building up or relieving colleagues who were late getting a break. Plus there were a couple of desks, first class and early check-in, which had to be permanently manned. On average, though, I would say that you were actually working between, 3h30 and 4h00 of your eight-hour shifts (the mids were supposed to be 9 hours). Which adds up to 20 hours – say, max 25 – of work over a nine-day ‘week’. Best job I ever had.

Sorry for the nostalgia-fest, bet seriously, I see quite a number of parallels with the present CC situation (most of my colleagues were ex-CC anyway, grounded by age or by marriage under the rules of the day). Within a couple of years of me moving on, the system had changed, any flight could be checked-in from any desk, and allowing for lunch and coffee breaks, staff were working about 6h30 of their shift, an increase in productivity of about 60-80%.
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Old 11th Jun 2010, 12:24
  #47 (permalink)  
 
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Re The SSKs comments about productivity, presumably the VCC and any temps have been working to a much more productive arrangement, as this is the subject of Unite's first para as to it's reasons for a reballot.

Have the CC who worked also done less down time etc, as they would be on the same aircraft as the VCC. If so, what would happen if a regular CC member working though the strike insisted on the normal arrangements applying? Did it happen? Did they have different arrangements for normal CC who worked through the strike?
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Old 11th Jun 2010, 15:36
  #48 (permalink)  
 
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If so, what would happen if a regular CC member working though the strike insisted on the normal arrangements applying?
Would have been a brave, or daft, person attracting attention to themselves in that manner. However, I cannot say what happened for sure ..... but I vaguely recall the company issuing comms along the lines that owing to the 'unusual circumstances prevailing' then cabin crew roster stability, agreements etc would be subject to temporary changes to keep the operation as going as well as possible.
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Old 11th Jun 2010, 15:37
  #49 (permalink)  
 
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BlueUpGood's post is superb. Yet there are still people looking forward to the next ballot and presumably industrial action.I really do fail to see the sense, logic or reason behind such an attitude.

In todays age of information at your fingertips, none of the strikers have an excuse that they were not informed, aware of something. I understand working CC being concerned for their collegues and friends who decided to strike. But if they haven't got the sense that god gave them to read or think for themselves they deserve no sympathy at all.
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Old 12th Jun 2010, 02:45
  #50 (permalink)  
 
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Pride

Sat here in the Galleries lounge at YVR on a sunny evening awaiting BA084 I have observed with a sense of pride the arrival of our ride home. G-CIVL has parked up in front of us in all of its splendour and glory wearing with pride the flag on its tail.

The departing Pax and crew are soon replaced by an army of attendant service personnel. I note in particular the cleaners and catering staff who are clearly up against it to prepare this great bird for the next flight. No doubt they have just finished delivering a similar service on a previous a/c and will soon be expected on the next a/c.

As I watched them I wondered which union was representing them, who would look after their interests in the event they were asked/told to perform a new duty. I found myself thinking about their t's & c's and perks from working in the airline industry and peforming a clearly critical service to the airline.

I pondered on the reaction of their employers and the airline if they were to withdraw their services as a result of the team being reduced by one member or perhaps the additional payment they may receive for having to work "one down".

I think we all know the answer - BASSA time to get real!
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Old 12th Jun 2010, 05:47
  #51 (permalink)  
 
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This report in todays Daily Mail tells it like it is.

We can't afford to keep on striking: BA cabin crew turn their fire on union militants | Mail Online

P21
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Old 12th Jun 2010, 13:24
  #52 (permalink)  
 
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Good experience to YVR

I flew out J-Class to YVR on Thursday and have to note that the crew seemed very happy, friendly and were attentive and open to conversation.

I was in the upper deck, so I can't comment on other cabins, but the two crew attending this cabin and the visiting CC and flight crew all seemed to be very jovial. I must admit that I was pleased to see this given some of the negative tales we've all read about.

As this was the first day after the strikes, the food services was down on usual, but that's the only criticism I have from my flight.

Let's hope my return to LHR is the same.
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Old 12th Jun 2010, 15:18
  #53 (permalink)  
 
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Inward Looking

Over on the other thread current contributors cannot seem to get beyond debating the rights and wrongs of ST privilges.
In the real world serious commentators are focussing on what is happening elsewhere. The latest edition of the Economist journal has on page 80 a piece on the ever expanding ambitions of the 3 Gulf carriers. In a week that saw EK order a further significant tranche of A380 aircraft the article spells out the considerable cost and productivity benefits that these airlines enjoy over their western rivals. It was claimed that EK's manpower costs are 15% compared with LH's 30% of total costs. Quite a margin. I wonder where BA fits?
It is this bleak picture that points to why BA must endure the current painful restructuring of its cost base.
How many employees across the company and especially CC are listening?
That to my mind is WW's challenge and why he cannot relent.
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Old 12th Jun 2010, 16:12
  #54 (permalink)  
 
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Alpine Skier

That would make sense, but with 28% not voting are members aware that their identities are protected? Having never been involved in IA during my 35 years with BEA/BA, and having read about the misinformation spewed out by BASSA it makes me wonder if their members know that their vote cannot be traced to them.
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Old 13th Jun 2010, 19:00
  #55 (permalink)  
 
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If I remember correctly, after the failure of negotiations, before the first strikes at Easter WW mentioned something about a new policy regarding the union if agreement was not reached by the 14 June. It will be interesting to see if tomorrow brings any announcements.
I think its time to get this over with and issue new contracts to cc based on the last BA offer with an incentive (say maintaining seniority) if signed within 28 days. If it is not signed then an individual will be seen to have resigned after 90 days.

Regards
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Old 14th Jun 2010, 11:24
  #56 (permalink)  
 
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From the official thread...

PS, just returned from a night stop and on the way out the crew noticed that all oxygen bottles in the world traveller cabin had been emptied.
That's the second such allegation I've seen concerning oxygen bottles.

If true, it should in my view be subject to a criminal investigation.
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Old 14th Jun 2010, 20:56
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Baggersup,

Yes that was what I was thinking of. thanks
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Old 15th Jun 2010, 07:06
  #58 (permalink)  
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It would be highly surprising if BA's CAA inspectors, on call and in attendance very regularly, are not aware of incidents that affect the safety of the aircraft. Engineers would have been involved in a case such as oxygen bottles being emptied (IF indeed it happened) and would make instant reports on such matters both to the company and the CAA. This would be behind closed doors but anyone foolish enough to tamper with aircraft equipment would certainly face the courts, and equally certainly would be jailed.
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Old 15th Jun 2010, 11:53
  #59 (permalink)  
 
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From the cc thread.

On the cabin crew forum one comment was about volunteer cabin crew...
...Willie Walsh can't make these union oriented individuals volunteer. They have decided to do it themselves...
That may not be totally true. When I was at BA, in the department that I was in the managers were told that they would "volunteer" (not for cabin crew) . In my book that is bullying, and one of the reasons I left.
Also that around 4-5 years ago I was at a social gathering including someone from investor relations. All I can say now is that it looks like the plan is coming together.

Last edited by Desk Jockey; 17th Jun 2010 at 13:04. Reason: Slapped wrist
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Old 15th Jun 2010, 12:20
  #60 (permalink)  
 
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Someone from my husbands department (within engineering) has volunteered as CC, there was no coercion from BA for anyone to do so however.

I can't speak for any other sections of course.
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