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-   -   BA Strike - Your Thoughts & Questions II (https://www.pprune.org/passengers-slf-self-loading-freight/417709-ba-strike-your-thoughts-questions-ii.html)

baggersup 3rd Oct 2010 19:42

You are right, Bettygirl. It is an extremely unsociable-hours job.

You'd probably be surprised, though, how many of us out in this ozone of the pax thread did our time in the job. My time in the cabin was before most of the folks on here were out of nappies, LOL

But it was as unsociable then. So I do understand. My old airline had a looooooong duty, because we went around the world as an intact crew, both eastways and westways. We were away for two weeks or more at a time.

But it allowed me the funds and schedule to get my master's degree. So I wasn't in it for life, and nobody else was either, and if you stayed you went into recruitment and training.

It was a young person's game then. And when you are weighed in before every flight, held to extremely stringent weight and appearance requirements, and held your breath that you won't be one pound over and grounded, that used to be a natural selection process as one got older!

And then we were subjected to wearig our ubiquitous girdles and heels on board. I couldn't do it for 2 days now, much less 2 weeks.

My hat's off to you. It's still ruddy hard graft on the bod.

jetset lady 3rd Oct 2010 19:48


When a company knows it is dealing with an especially litigious minded workforce or militant union (or any workforce in which rules must be applied consistently and within legal limits like requiring written proof, etc.), any manager knows that the minute you break your own rules and guidelines, no matter how valid the reason, you are left open to problems.
baggersup, I do understand. But LGW has always been the total opposite. I was naive in thinking that maybe the company appreciated our hard work. They don't. I know that now. I suppose I should have realised that when whilst operating one of the first LCY-JFK flights, a route we were so proud of getting, a very high up member of the leadership team had to ask me what base we were from. He didn't have a clue. We honestly thought we had got the route because we were good, reliable and would make it work. I now think we got it because we were cheap. That was a real slap in the face! In fact, sometimes I wonder if secretly, they actually have more respect for our LHR colleagues for at least having the guts and belief, however misguided, to make a stand whilst seeing us at LGW as the company doormat.

Who knows. I don't know what any of the leadership team are thinking and never will. I appreciate the position they are in but I feel the same as Betty girl. The pride has gone. I will carry on, doing my best for our passengers but it's out of personal pride and a love of the job itself rather than any pride or loyalty for the company.

Please don't think I am looking for a sympathy vote here. I'm not. I consider myself lucky to have a job at all, let alone one I actually like in these troubled times. But Diplome asked why some of us feel unappreciated by BA and I'm trying to be as honest as I can.

Saying all of that, even knowing what I know now and feeling as I do now, I still wouldn't have gone out on strike. The reasons behind it were fundamentally flawed and my opinion on that and the antics of BASSA haven't changed in any way.

baggersup 3rd Oct 2010 19:57

Thanks JetsetL.

I've been where you are in a company that went from "family" to hard nosed managers in a downsizing world. So have been in your chair.

I can see where BA is between a rock and a hard place. They need to be good to existing employees but have the hatchet of lawsuits for any and sundry relating to current personnel hanging ove their heads.

They know that anything they do right now can end up in discovery in a court case (some of which are coming down the pike.)

It makes an unsociable workplace when an employer is constantly protecting itself from nasty bits coming up in future discovery.

It's bad for everybody. But the employees bear the brunt.

Diplome 3rd Oct 2010 21:29

Excuse me...but can anyone give me a reason why the opinion is that BA doesn't appreciate crew anymore?? Other than MixedFleet?

From a SLF point of view it is obvious that Mixed Fleet has a lot of Legacy Crew bugged. Why? If they can't provide an superior service, as so many Legacy Crew seem to be determined to communicate, then it will be obvious.

But truly...time away from home during holidays?? EVERY Cabin Crew member from every airline can make that claim. It is not exclusive to BA. Feeling special? BA cabin crew felt special because of their terms and conditions including their high pay rate. Let's be brutal, its been awhile since the premium passenger population rated BA at the top of the game.

BA hasn't "done" anything to Cabin Crew other than try to maintain a lifestyle for legacy crew while building for the future and meeting the needs of their SLF, and having Cabin Crew tell them time and time again "No".

I understand that BASSA screwed up and put Cabin Crew in a position that is not ideal...but Cabin Crew had a choice. This is the path the majority chose.

BA is going to tread carefully around ANY Cabin Crew issue because the Cabin Crew union has declared war on the company (remember that phrase guerilla tactics). It is not a war of their making and there is no way that any Cabin Crew member will ever convince the Street, stockholders or the public that working one down was outrageous, but it is a threat that was brought to them.

When will Cabin Crew start getting as angry with BASSA, who created their present situation, as they seem to be with BA. I'm sorry but as SLF, watching the path Cabin Crew have taken, my sympathy to the group as a whole is limited.

Carnage Matey! 3rd Oct 2010 21:43


Originally Posted by Betty Girl
Having worked for BA for over 22 years, often long hours, unsociable hours and often away from my family, not to mention working at Christmas and other family occasions that others take for granted, I can assure you it can be a lonely and strange existence at times.

This is a view I've heard many times, and it's one I always find a little intriguing. I work for the same company as Betty Girl, so I'm more than adequately aquainted with the long unsociable hours, the Christmas out trip etc etc. Yet I only ever hear cabin crew complain of loneliness and I wonder why this is. As flight crew I am equally likely to be working with complete strangers, and throughout my career in BA I've had to contend with the less than subtle anti-pilot prejudice of my colleagues in the cabin, yet I don't feel lonely downroute, nor do I hear complaints of loneliness from me colleagues of the flight deck. Why is it that the cabin crew seem to feel this aspect of the job so much more than others?



A very good example of a premium company that pays it's staff well and looks after them is John Lewis and as such their customer service is second to none. This is how BA has until recently been.
An oft quoted analogy, but one that I think is false. I've yet to experience anyone in John Lewis say no and wave a union rule book at me. I have countless examples of Club Europe pax being downgraded because there were too many of them for the matrix, of flights being delayed because of insufficent rest for the industrial agreement, of pax being stranded because two local nights (or two days overtime) were desired. Whilst I can offer examples of individuals going above and beyond the call of duty to visit pax in hospital, offer lifts to stranded pax, etc etc, I think it is quite a stretch of the imagination to pretend that BA on the whole has been anything other than hidebound to BASSA rules for at least 20 years.


Just trust me when I tell you that no one likes Willie Walsh and he does not inspire any of his workforce to be the best.
Amongst IFCE I'd agree. Amongst wider BA he has more admirers than you'd expect, and from some unexpected quarters. Look how much he has achieved compared to Eddington and Ayling.


We are products of a previous chief executive Colin Marshall who inspired us all to be the best and it is his legacy of customer service that runs through many of us. This is all being eroded by Willie Walsh
I don't see Willie Walsh doing anything to erode the ethos of customer service, but he does have to work within economic constraints which Marshall didn't have to contend with. The cupboard is bare, there's no money to throw at the problem, and thats in no small part due to the fact that he's playing fair by BA staff in keeping their pension fund solvent. Would you sacrifice your pension for investment in the on-board product?


and it is a shame that we can't have the cost savings combined with an inspirational boss instead of someone that does not really care what his crew are like, as long as they are the cheapest!!
BA aren't going for the cheapest, and never have. What they are moving away from is the notion that you have to pay twice what everyone else does to get good crew, because BA have tried that and found that it doesn't work. All you get is the same mix of crew but paid twice as much as the competition.

Betty girl 3rd Oct 2010 22:11

I wont even bother trying to reply to your unpleasant post. You obviously dislike BA cabin crew and seem to live in a totally different world to me.

Call 100 was right.

Hand Solo 3rd Oct 2010 23:12

I believe that world may be called reality, ignore it at your peril! I haven't seen any unpleasant posts on here, but I have seen some realistic appraisals of where BA crew are positioned industry-wide in terms of service levels, remuneration and work ethic. It is, of course , much easier to accuse people of disliking crew than to confront something that challenges ones own perceptions.

jetset lady 3rd Oct 2010 23:23


Please don't think I am looking for a sympathy vote here. I'm not. I consider myself lucky to have a job at all, let alone one I actually like in these troubled times.
Diplome,

See the above. I neither need nor want your sympathy. You asked a question. I tried to explain. I could have added in the many other bits and pieces that all add up but I'd have been here forever and I sense it would have made little difference anyway. As for the special terms and conditions, I can't talk for the LHR crew as I don't know but at LGW? You must be joking! However, as you'll no doubt point out, I knew the T&C's and signed happily at the beginning but if you check back to my original post, you will see that it's not about money or the T&C's as such, or holidays and lonliness for that matter! I apologise if my explanation doesn't fit your personal requirements but there isn't a lot I can do about that.


Originally Posted by Diplome
When will Cabin Crew start getting as angry with BASSA, who created their present situation, as they seem to be with BA.

See below and I'm pretty sure Betty girl has said much the same in the past.


Originally Posted by jetset lady
Saying all of that, even knowing what I know now and feeling as I do now, I still wouldn't have gone out on strike. The reasons behind it were fundamentally flawed and my opinion on that and the antics of BASSA haven't changed in any way.

Would you like us to keep repeating it? Maybe it could be our "signatures".

Carnage Matey,

Again, I can't comment on much of your post as it seems to revolve around agreements I know nothing about. However, there is one point I'd like to raise.


I have countless examples of Club Europe pax being downgraded because there were too many of them for the matrix
This is something that also happens occasionally at LGW. And these passengers are last minute bookings. The reason the matrix is there is because these are the numbers we can realistically manage to offer the Club Service to in the time frame of the flight. Even then, they are sometimes pushing it. Take a flight I operated a while back. BOD. 1 hr 20 flight time. For some reason, a band 3. So full hot meal, with a choice of hots, plus a bar round, plus sales. 3 crew. 21 passengers in Club, (just within the Matrix) 113 down the back. Thankfully, the flight crew were aware that time would be tight and not only said they would sort themselves out apart from the safety checks but that they would slow down if neccessary. With all the will in the world, there was no way I could give the passengers the service they had paid for. I did get it completed but not in the way it should have been done, in my opinion. In this instance, if the flight had been realistically banded, it would have been a much better and more appropriate service but that's not the point I am trying to make.

So what would you rather? Take their money, pack 'em all in and to hell with the consequences or tell the last minute bookings that sorry, we have no Club seats and/or meals available but we can offer you a club seat on a later flight or an economy seat on this one? Blimey! Here's a thought. Maybe we could even change the config if we only have club seats left but not enough food/crew for those last minute passengers? Seems we can change the passenger figures easily enough!

Actually, this is a passenger thread so maybe you are the best people to ask. What would you prefer? To be told the truth and be offered a seat in economy or to pay your money for Club and experience a rushed service, possibly with no food or something we have managed to scrape together in the galley? If you'd rather the latter, then I take it all back.

Betty girl 3rd Oct 2010 23:32

Carnage Matey, I will answer some of your examples because you have painted crew as difficult for following agreements that BA have put in place.
The Matrix you mention is decided by British Airways and not the union. In fact as you are well aware BA have changed ALL the crewing levels on BA E/F flights and consequentially the matrixes and as you are also well aware the union had absolutely NO input into it at all.
The crewing matrix is the level of crew BA want to operate with and has nothing to do with the union. When I first became a Purser I accepted more passengers on a flight than the matrix said (this never happens at LHR and only happens when an outstation takes a late Club booking after the flight has departed LHR) and I was told not to do it again by MY MANAGER as the service is designed around the correct level of crew and accepting more passengers than you have crew for gives a sub-standard service to all the other club passengers.

When you arrive somewhere late and don't have enough time for the required rest it is BA that delays the departure, crew do not demand or even ask for a delay it is done automatically by ops.

I just think this dispute seems to have brought out of the woodwork all sorts of people that just seem to want to have a pop at crew. It is a great shame and it is no wonder that people like me that did not strike feel almost as wretched as the strikers.

I recently had a Captain delaying a flight because he did not like the fish crew meal that had been put on for him. I'll say no more!!!

Betty girl 3rd Oct 2010 23:52

I tell you another thing I am sick to the back teeth of people telling me I earn too much.

I live in a small ordinary house in Maidenhead, a town close enough to travel in to LHR. I don't have a lavish life just a normal one. Like many other people I struggle to pay my bills and I have a pretty rubbish pension because it is just based on my basic salary.

Yet for some reason a load of people come on here saying that I earn too much. Apparently minimum wage is all a BA cabin crew member deserves because apparently we are greedy and lazy and don't look after our passenger. News to me.

BA just won Business Traveler best European Business airline but did anyone from BA say well done NO, did they heck.

If anything this dispute has done it has made me realise what a horrible race we humans are.

Hand Solo 3rd Oct 2010 23:57

Was not the reason that the union had no input to the new crewing levels that they weren't talking to BA? I've heard numerous complaints about the new working positions on the jumbo too, and this is an area where the union could have a meaningful input, but if they are too busy saying 'no' then ultimately BA will impose in a less than ideal fashion.

On the matter of the matrix, I was flying Airbusses long before text messages were invented, so contrary to Jetsets assertion that it's all mates of pilots taking the club numbers over, it wasn't. Typically it was an evening flight ex BRU, GVA, ZRH, LIN with businessmen coming home early. I don't think anyone is realistically expecting you to feed 20 extra pax, but I've seen refusal to accommodate even one, even with catering available, and I've seen it many times. Another militant nasty is demanding 18 hours of when just a handful of minutes past the 'long day' trigger. That's not triggered by ops, I know this as I spent an hour with the purser as she tried to sort it out with them! It's these incessant spanners in the works which can exasperate other BA staff.


By the way, did you know the fish is Escolar and is banned in many countries due to the violent reactions some people have to it? Given that the pilots do fixed links at LHR and the crew meal may be the only meal for 8 hours, what do you think delaying to change to a non-poisonous fish might be prudent?

Hand Solo 4th Oct 2010 00:06

PS I'm sure a thank you for winning best European business airline will appear in that new magazine we get that replaced BA News, though it'll be dedicated to all staff. What happens off the aircraft is just as important as what happens on it!

jetset lady 4th Oct 2010 00:22


On the matter of the matrix, I was flying Airbusses long before text messages were invented, so contrary to Jetsets assertion that it's all mates of pilots taking the club numbers over, it wasn't.
That wasn't what I said, Hand Solo. I actually said late bookings and friends etc of ground staff/pilots/cabin crew. (I did add CC having realised it was missing but you may not have seen it before I deleted the whole sentence) However, on reading back I also decided that that was not only unfair but also irrelevant to the point I was trying to raise with regards the service standards, hence the fact I have now taken it out.


By the way, did you know the fish is Escolar and is banned in many countries due to the violent reactions some people have to it? Given that the pilots do fixed links at LHR and the crew meal may be the only meal for 8 hours, what do you think delaying to change to a non-poisonous fish might be prudent?
If that is the case, why on earth are we being catered with it?

Diplome 4th Oct 2010 01:48


I just think this dispute seems to have brought out of the woodwork all sorts of people that just seem to want to have a pop at crew. It is a great shame and it is no wonder that people like me that did not strike feel almost as wretched as the strikers.

I would respectfully disagree, at least to the extent that your comment relates to this forum.

We are SLF, either simply passengers, premium passengers, or stockholders, in some cases all three.

Our perspective is a tad different from Cabin Crew, especially the rather militant heart of BASSA. Without being unduly harsh, I have worked long hours, my son (now in this late 20's) went to the office with me in evening hours (blanket and pillow packaged) with his homework and papers whilst I had to write a brief to be ready in the morning. Other individuals here have made sacrifices regarding family and personal time in their professions.

The "I don't feel appreciated because of something that MIGHT happen" is something we have been hearing for quite some time from both the BASSA faithful, and now others. The reality is that all of us do our work and hope for the best and deal with the same insecurity.

Reality doesn't mean that BA or your passengers don't appreciate your performance. It does mean that many of us ask that you not ask for plaudits for doing what you are paid to do. Many of us do that day in and day out. That's what we're paid to do.

pcat160 4th Oct 2010 04:08

I tell you another thing I am sick to the back teeth of people telling me I earn too much.

The fact is you can be replaced at half of what you are being paid so maybe you are being paid too much. Rather than worrying about what Mixed Fleet is being paid maybe you should be gratified that BA is protecting your current pay. If I was BA management and reading what Cabin Crew have to say on these forums I would be thinking twice about the position of not moving all routes as soon as possible to Mixed Fleet. Nobody owes you anything and you are only worth what you are worth, if you do not believe this go into the market and see what you are worth.

Betty girl 4th Oct 2010 07:28

Nice posters like Notlangley ask a question of me, that I am happy to answer and then I get days of, yes, unpleasant posts and I am one of the crew against what Bassa has done!!! Thanks a lot.

Shack37 4th Oct 2010 10:34

A number of CC posting on here have, from the beginning, attempted to answer questions put by us slf in a reasonable and informative way. They are mostly the crew who didn't strike and who have been critical of Bassa.
Three I would mention in particular, JSL, BG and Tiramisu have been outstanding.
Now however, because they are also honest enough to mention that BA also have a bit of a downside they are suddenly the bad guys? It seems to me that some posters, be they flight crew or stockholders, have decided to turn on them as the enemy, possibly due to fewer pro Bassa targets being available.
How about a little more understanding folks and a little less of the boot.

Lotpax 4th Oct 2010 12:06

I second Shack37.

As I said many hundreds of posts ago, I am concerned by a cabal of people on here who seem to think that BA can do no wrong.

I have certainly seen regression at BA in the past 2-3 years that is nothing to do with the cabin crew.

The 'service' is much more process driven ('computer says no') and some good people have been disempowered.

I've just received a substantial cash payment for 'service recovery' for one incident and another large wad of miles for the same reason on another. Both incidents could have been avoided, but there was no policy to apply, so BA ends up shooting itself in the foot, at the cost of several hundred euros.

For example, why would you refuse to move a pax on a connecting flight to the flight before (on a non changeable ticket), when there is industrial action at the point of departure, causing delays and the pax is on a tight connection?

Add to that that your airline does not have a flight to the final destination the next day.

So the pax misses the flight by 30 minutes (when he could have made it by the same margin on the earlier flight, which had spare seats.)

The airline pays for hotac and meals and then re-routes the pax on a competitor the next day.

Tell me where the sense is in this decision? How much did that remove form the bottom line, when it could have been easily avoid with little or no cost and some common sense?

If that is what I am experiencing as a gold card holder, goodness knows what Betty Girl and Jetset Lady go through every day.

There are two sides to every story.

PAXboy 4th Oct 2010 14:33

I have sympathies for the long term BA folks that have tried to keep 'the old style' of customer service, as much as for those that support WW however ...

Having been working in various areas for 33 years, in many different types of organisations (very small to global PLC) and in different companies etc. etc. I can say that those big companies that retain 'the old style' are very few and reducing by the month.

I was brought up in the 'Look after the company and the company will look after you' era but have seen that evaporate in my working time. Big companies are held to the mark by shareholders that are now often a millstone not a long stop and the list of reasons why this has all changed is very, very long. Yes, Unions are in there as they [some] have not changed their tune but the basic problem of a country that is still running down the hill from the good times is everywhere. Lastly, the global changes are remarkable to behold and they have a LOT further yet to run.

So - is it right for everyone to have a bitch? Yes!!! Because EVERYONE is affected and no one group can be singled out due to the fact that the current BA situation has been cooking up for 30 years. As I have said before, previous managers of BA (along with their cosy pals on the Board) have all failed in their management of the company - even Colin Marshall did not regain control of all areas but had enough money coming in the front door that he could continue to shovel it out the back.

All areas of commerce and civil service (local + national) have had to re-align themselves in the past 20 years and the airline biz is one of them. BA, being so large, is almost inevitably the last to have to do so. Not nice but every other worker in the UK has had/will have, the same story to tell.

Customer Service? Every customer wants it and almost no customer is willing to pay for it.

Shack37 4th Oct 2010 15:40

Paxboy said

Customer Service? Every customer wants it and almost no customer is willing to pay for it.
And therein lies the basic problem:
Everyone is a customer and also a contractor (service provider) at some level so a domino effect is inevitable. All clients need to feel they are getting value for their money and (definitely) not being shafted, be they a pax paying 20 for a flight on Ryanair or an energy exploration company paying Ms to another company to drill a hole in the seabed.


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