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BA Strike - Your Thoughts & Questions III

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BA Strike - Your Thoughts & Questions III

Old 24th Jan 2011, 11:09
  #1741 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: maidenhead
Posts: 942
Angel

Ancient Observer,

You have hit upon the big problem for BA, it is not like most companies because the workforce are spread all over the world and report at different times of the day.

The managers do try and phone crew at home ( but I have to say that many crew will not take their call) and walk-in sessions are open for crew to chat to managers, in fact at this moment, but hardly any will go in and talk.

Most main crew and a large proportions of WW pursers do not even know who their manager is because our working life is predominantly on an aircraft. Crew arrive just before their flight briefing starts and then on their return go straight home, particularily the WW crew.
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Old 24th Jan 2011, 11:12
  #1742 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2010
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Moses30u ... I think pilots fly without the need to go as VCC ... and I think they are better paid at the front of the plane than in the cabin. Other VCC fly because they want to end the BASSA control of the company. If you need further examples of BASSAs negotiating skills, take a look at DH discussing the way forward with his own union members .... negotiation is not an option even here with people who pay his wages. It is DHs way or the highway.

You say about "Weren’t BALPA calling for a strike a few years ago, due to a cheap fleet of pilots arriving?" Why didn't it happen. Negotiation occured. Notice the difference.

Gate Gourmet? Get real - Gate Gourment sacked their own employees 5 and a half years ago - it was nothing to do with issues with BA management. It was BA empoloyees "supporting" their friends \ family at Gate Gourmet at Union insistence.

Cheap labour - well, we can agree to disagree on that. It is certainly cheaper labour than current T & C s but that is the same throughout the airline and country. New employees almost everywhere are on new T & Cs including the removal of final salary pension schemes. Mixed Fleet will only work if cabin crew stay and can live on the wage. That is the same with any job. From bus driver to pilot. From banker to bank clerk. But are you seriously suggesting that current crew are so thoughtful and considerate that they were voting to strike over someone elses wages and not their own. How noble ;-)

Even Betty Girl - which of the points you mention were the original cause of this dispute? I accept things have moved on ... but the actual causes of this dispute ... can you confirm that Unite and BA had agreed in principal an agreement as far back as Dec 2009 which BASSA scuppered?

Mariner 9 - I agree totally. And perhaps strikers could post back what they want to end this dispute.

Ancient Observer (and this is where I would agree with Moses). I don't believe BA have gone through 14 months of this to hand back everything now (and I think that is what the strikers want). Other departments felt WW went quite far enough even handing back ST (even with loss of seniority) after it was withdrawn. It is a now (I believe) a dispute about who runs the airline and it isn't one that BASSA can win.

Sadly BASSA have backed themselves into a corner. And BA don't need them anymore. Ultimately it is the cabin crew that will suffer.
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Old 24th Jan 2011, 11:18
  #1743 (permalink)  
 
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Angel

Mariner,
I personally think it is the sackings and suspensions and BA's requirement that the arrangements between the union and BA are modernised, that drives the reps on.

They are just using misinformation to the cabin crew as a way of getting them all on side. I am sure that the reps know that this deal is actually quite good. They are just totally embittered because some of their colleagues, in their eyes, have been unfairly and harshly treated plus the removal of staff travel seniority.

That's what drives this strike on.
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Old 24th Jan 2011, 11:22
  #1744 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: UK
Posts: 458
Most main crew and a large proportions of WW pursers do not even know who their manager is because our working life is predominantly on an aircraft. Crew arrive just before their flight briefing starts and then on their return go straight home, particularily the WW crew.
Whilst generally correct my partner, WW PSR, knows her manager very well and enjoyes regular contact and communication with her. She [partner] made the effort to do so and there is nothing preventing any other cabin crew member from doing the same thing.

After being invoved in a serious incident on a flight recently she recieved a call from her manager checking that she was ok and offering various services and support. I know some crew would accuse that manager of harressing them at home by phoning..!

Bottom line, staff / management relations is a two way street.

Any CC member that doesnt know their managers name must have applied zero effort in finding it out, it's all published after all. So manager AND CC fail equally in that example.
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Old 24th Jan 2011, 11:47
  #1745 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2010
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Angel

Well I totally agree with you Snas.

I like your partner have a great and wonderful relationship with mine. I have a chat with her whenever I see her sitting at her desk but that is not the case for most main crew and WW Pursers. I also notice that only a few WW managers work in the CRC with most opting to work at Waterside. However on E/F the majority choose to work at the CRC which is great for me because I enjoy having the ear of my manager.

Our managers come and go but I like your partner always seek out mine when she/he changes but I don't think I and your partner are the norm I am afraid.

I was really just trying to show AC how difficult it is for BA because each manager has about 300 crew I believe.
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Old 24th Jan 2011, 11:48
  #1746 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: England
Posts: 99
It does seem to be true that for most crew, the crewing levels, the original strike reason, have been accepted.

As mariner9 said, what they would want is

A rise in basic pay
A promise that route transfers to cheaper fleets will be done fairly.
As a further safeguard to the route transfer, a system that guarantees allowances at current levels if change of routes means allowance earning is reduced from current levels
All this was offered 8 or 9 days before the original strike, and was obviously acceptable to Tony Woodley and Derek Simpson. They asked BA for more time before the 7 day 'strike dates' deadline to ballot members on it and BA agreed provided no dates were announced, as that would cost BA cancellations etc. So what happened? BASSA and mouthpiece Len McLuskey go ahead and announce strike dates! Thus scuppering the deal and costing their members pay and staff travel etc. To me that is a huge act of betrayal by a union of its members. If CC had rejected it, so be it, but they should have had the chance to vote, with a fair appraisal of what it offered, not the rhetoric/maybe this and maybe that scaremongering that BASSA subsequently justified themselves with.

Following on from that, I can't believe the strike, for BASSA leadership, is anything other than a power play within BA for control of IFCE and BA have to win or they may as well forget any bank backing for new aircraft etc.

Edit to add, I agree with BG above, this is also a likely reason
the sackings and suspensions and BA's requirement that the arrangements between the union and BA are modernised, that drives the reps on.


However I do believe BA should have offered back staff travel with seniority immediately on coming to an agreement, or perhaps in April 2011. It would have been a goodwill gesture that cost nothing. Perhaps that is one thing the new CEO could do without losing face, as it was Mr Walsh that was so specific about it.
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Old 24th Jan 2011, 11:51
  #1747 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2010
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I guess there are really 2 disputes going on here:

1) With Cabin Crew which I suspect would never have started, or at least been resolved by now, if they were represented by TW \ Unite without BASSA involvement. I hate to say it but Cabin Crew are, I think, now irrelevant to this dispute.

2) With BASSA - and this is now the key dispute. Sadly the cabin crew strikers caught in the middle are cannon fodder and saddest of all, their Union (at least in the guise of DH) has no interest in their views or futures. Hopefully Cabin Crew will see his latest rant as proof that he is only interested in those that agree with him. And you can't live life like that, no matter who you are. BA can't, and after 14 months, won't let BASSA "win" - that should be obvious no matter what your views. Just an oberver - surely you can see that the unconditional return of staff travel is a corner stone to that.

Enough from me .... hopefully cabin crew will see that they are only of interest to DH while they support him in his quest.

BG and everyone else at BA that help keep the airline flying - keep up the good work.
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Old 24th Jan 2011, 12:01
  #1748 (permalink)  
 
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Angel

JanO and BBB,

I think you both sum it up.

Unfortunately Willie Walsh has specifically put it on notice, that he will continue to be dealing with this issue. So no change there. DH continues at Bassa and he is in fact the main culprit. So no change there either.

So for people like me, it feels like a never ending circle and apart from hoping that I can persuade others with my opinions, I am powerless to do anything!!
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Old 24th Jan 2011, 12:43
  #1749 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: UK
Posts: 859
moses30u

You said
paying minimal wages with crap working rights.
This I strongly disagreed with as all workers in the UK have the same RIGHTS, their individual terms are different and whether they are c**p or not is a matter for debate. They are certainly different but no-one is forcing people to sign the new contract.

If the conditions are so poor (can we use poor rather than the unnecessary scatalogical reference?) then people will not stay very long. That perhaps is the point of this contract, that people will not stay forever but leave after a few years.

Your reply of:
Dunno about you but I'd say that they were pretty crap conditions myself.
focused on the terms (the conditions in which they work are the same as the heritage crew) to which I made no reference or comment.

I just wish people would use the words they mean and understand those words, it makes the debate so much more reasoned and less emotional. Please try to read what people write and respond to that rather than getting angry about what you think they have written.

Last edited by Juan Tugoh; 24th Jan 2011 at 13:18.
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Old 24th Jan 2011, 13:16
  #1750 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: essex
Posts: 81
profession, job or career?

can't help thinking that if BA CC were to truly merit the description 'professional' we would have seen much more positive interaction over this issue.

can you imagine for example, doctors or barristers, sitting back and lapping up everything from their 'union' whilst ignoring everything that the employer has to say? that's not to say they wouldn't apply their critical faculties to both sets of information.

or, would said professionals fail to vote at all in such numbers?

I do not agree with recent post ,referring to grey haired grumpy stewardesses ( you don't have to be grey haired to be grumpy for a start), but i remain of the view that this is a job where only a cadre can expect to stay and progress. for the rest it needs to be a short service option.
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Old 24th Jan 2011, 15:05
  #1751 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Often in Jersey, but mainly in the past.
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I second the comments about the posts by JanO and BbB ... a neat reminder of the facts within all the rhetoric.

@ rethymnon ...
but I remain of the view that this is a job where only a cadre can expect to stay and progress. for the rest it needs to be a short service option.
Indeed, why should being CC be a lifetime career? The Armed Forces offer short-service commissions to officers [up to 8 years?] who may choose to compete for a 'Permanent Commission" later on. Regular soldiers are engaged for a maximum of 22 years [depending on progress through the ranks]. In all the Services, retention is based on rank/promotion ... not on simply serving time.

I remember vividly the tension when applying for a "Permanent Commission", and so does the OH. If we hadn't both achieved that, we'd have been out of a job at 38.

Last edited by MPN11; 24th Jan 2011 at 17:12.
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Old 24th Jan 2011, 15:15
  #1752 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
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In the last 18 months there have been three strike ballot: one invalid plus two valid

As various posters have pointed out, a vote in the most recent ballot of 56.3% of all ballot papers issued is a substantial and clear vote for a strike.
However the strength of the YES vote is diminishing.

The high tide was the invalid 2009 ballot._ When two months later a valid ballot was conducted, the YES vote was approximately 2,000 less - but in the period between the two votes the membership of Unite had shrunk by about 1,100._ So approximately 900 YES voters had changed their opinion.

Comparing the two valid strike ballots, the YES vote decreased by 1,731 - but the Unite membership shrunk by 1,471.

I would be the first to agree that the disappearance of 260 YES votes is a drop in the ocean._ Nevertheless a professionally verified ballot brings real numbers into decision making._ Unite must be now be looking at falling membership, a thinning of the ranks of hard-liners, plus a viable Mixed Fleet which as yet has no union representation._ Certainly Unite must represent the views of its members - but a ballot enables the members to respond directly._ Unite will have some interest in the situation beyond the short-term.
Reference:-___link
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Old 24th Jan 2011, 16:11
  #1753 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
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Posts: 99
BbB re your comment

Just an oberver - surely you can see that the unconditional return of staff travel is a corner stone to that.
I didn't suggest an unconditional return, I said on agreement or on 1 April 2011 (which is the start of a new annual leave year) by which I meant if agreement happens before that date. Sorry if that was not clear. Certainly there's no reason to return it while the dispute is in progress. Historically staff travel has been lost between strike and agreement.

In fact BA has returned it without seniority unconditionally, although it will presumably go again if they strike again.

I don't approve of removing staff travel as an anti strike tactic in general, and in this case I'm sure it's now hampering a settlement. Whether any who crossed the picket lines did so merely to keep staff travel we'll probably never know, but if it did gain any strike breakers at the start, it's losing the back to work votes now.

Unfortunately, even if BA were to make that offer, it's doubtful CC would be given the chance to vote on it without movement on anything else prior to the next walkout.

It may encourage more who went on strike the first time to strike break this time though. Waning support for the Union position would give Unite a lever to force BASSA into the real world and settle for what was on offer before, with the staff travel carrot.

Last edited by just an observer; 24th Jan 2011 at 16:23.
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Old 24th Jan 2011, 19:43
  #1754 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
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So ... we SLF all wait to see what happens.

"Am I bovvered?"
As SLF, I'm obviously not giving a d***. BA will deliver, as usual.

For the CC, I'm actually concerned. The good suffer for the acts of others, the activists will [inevitably] penalise the pax one way or another. The real tragedy in all this is that it will take years for me to be able to look at LHR CC on LH and smile at them whilst actually meaning it.

Good, innit? How incredibly sad.
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Old 24th Jan 2011, 20:05
  #1755 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
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After being invoved in a serious incident on a flight recently she recieved a call from her manager checking that she was ok and offering various services and support. I know some crew would accuse that manager of harressing them at home by phoning..!
Well, I am afraid the offended crew are nothing but muppets. After a serious, distressing incident there has to be a robust chain of care that is initiated by the management and followed through to both the employer and employees satisfaction.

One analogy from the railway industry is this: I have had two suicides under my train in about 14 years. After both incidents the chain of care kicked in at once. Relieved from duty and med-screened ASAP. (Interestingly, a robust chain of custody is in place to protect your samples here as well). Taken to hospital if required, reports taken if fit enough to do so and driven home. If your car is at work it is returned to your home address the same day. Counselling is offered and encouraged and you are gently eased back into driving going over the same route accompanied until you feel able to return to full duties.

This, IMHO, the minimum standard for employers and what unions should demand and encourage employees to take up.
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Old 24th Jan 2011, 20:17
  #1756 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
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So ... we SLF all wait to see what happens.

"Am I bovvered?"
As SLF, I'm obviously not giving a d***. BA will deliver, as usual.
The reaction amongst pax to this latest strike threat is interesting and has been more of a collective yawn than anything else. In one sense, the strike (if it happens) has been a failure before it has even started. Passengers hate any uncertainty regarding their travel plans but BA seems to have, as BASSA supporters love to say "sent a message" that it can keep its operation running. Whatever happens next with Mixed Fleet, VCC, and an ever increasing number of non-union members has neuteured BASSA's ability to point a gun at BA's head.
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Old 24th Jan 2011, 20:42
  #1757 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
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Posts: 346
Another SLF view .....

The world turns, times move on and those who try and hold back the march of progress (for good or for ill) ultimately fall under the wheels and will be crushed.

While it is completely understandable that people try to hold onto their 'rights' it is IMO hopefully unrealistic to expect a company to survive and thrive in a commercial marketplace, where part of it's workforce is unable to move on.

I found it quite sad to read Mildly Militant ask the question about at what time the concessions would stop after years of giving things up. I heaved a heavy sigh and immediately thought of the dinosaurs. Change is eternal, every dog has it's day and this particular dog is a dodo. Competition in the market will never stop and to think that other airlines will stop competing with BA is naive and to think that the CC can avoid being affected is doubly so.

The market no longer requires BA legacy salaries to achieve the levels of service achieved by BA legacy staff. These levels of service can be achieved more const effectively and simply paying legacy crew more still does not achieve the level of quality and satisfaction provided by other full service airlines.

So while I respect the rights of any union member to vote as such, I am saddened by the blind obedience to the cause displayed by rational individuals. As has been asked many times, it is still unclear what the union think can be achieved by a strike. The war is lost, the battle is over - all that is left is a pointless suicide charge by the the remnants of the losing side. If the union had been smart, they would have negotiated early on and achieved some slowing of the march of progress. Instead they handed the result to BA on a plate, with bows on.

I will continue to fly BA for short and medium haul.

I do this as BA are currently price competitive for where i fly, but apart from Ryanair whom I abhor, if BA lose this price edge, I will go elsewhere.
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Old 24th Jan 2011, 20:42
  #1758 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
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I wouldn't be so sure of that, LD12986. By its very nature, the people who contribute here are likely to be sufficiently interested to still be contributing a year later. A great many more switched off months ago. Those people may well be rolling their eyes and silently switching their bookings to another carrier. Chances are, people have gone beyond the "I'm NEVER booking with them again" point and have already chosen elsewhere.

It will damage BA, no doubt about it.
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Old 24th Jan 2011, 21:23
  #1759 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: UK
Posts: 142
I cannot belief that this sorry mess is still going on after 2 years.

It is incredibly frustrating that so many of the cabin crew has lost touch with what the dispute is all about and some might say that they have also lost all touch with reality.

It is absolutely astonishing to meet so many cabin crew that still only take their information from one source - the totally discredited, power crazy DH. How so many supposedly intelligent people can listen the the mutterings of this person completely defiies logic.

The only fitting analogy I can think of is that BA are like a person with an inoperable brain tumour. If the brain tumour is not cut out and destroyed it will cause the death of the person. So far it feels like the company have only been taking some aspirin to ease the pain.

It is time for the surgeon to use the scalpel, cut out the cancerous tumour, throw it away and start recovery treatment straight away.
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Old 24th Jan 2011, 21:47
  #1760 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
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According to the BAA, almost 200000 less passengers used LHR when the strikes were on. That is a large number.
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