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-   -   BA Strike - Your Thoughts & Questions V (https://www.pprune.org/passengers-slf-self-loading-freight/446356-ba-strike-your-thoughts-questions-v.html)

MCOflyer 23rd Mar 2011 00:44

Question for anyone
In the UK, is there a provision for a company to reorganize under bankruptcy protecion such as many airlines have done in the US? In all such cases that I am aware of the unions were handled pretty harshly as to their terms and conditions.

Could such a thing happen if BA really wanted to change their culture?

Chuchinchow 23rd Mar 2011 00:52

All this talk of the "inner workings" reminds me that many of us were taught to be cautious.

Juan Tugoh 23rd Mar 2011 07:12

MCO Flyer
Simple answer - No.

Indeed the US airlines have used their bankruptcy protection in the past to effectively walk away from their debt and slash their costs. They they undercut the airlines that have not been so mismanaged as to end up insolvent and distort the market massively. The EU view this sort of behaviour as unair competition and do not allow it.

Those airlines in Europe that have gone bust and reappeared - like Swiss and the rump of Sabena are mere shadows of their former selves, they retain something of the livery and a few aircraft but have essentially been gutted.

Joao da Silva 23rd Mar 2011 10:29

This dispute is not about pit working, it is about redistribution of wealth. Do you need to pay a crew member any more than what the new hat wearing crew are on? Do you need a Mercedes or a Mondeo in the cabin? Only time will tell if BA will loose or gain customers because of its cabin crew.
The market has changed considerably over the past 15 years and the advent of low cost airlines has slashed margins on short haul flights.

BA undoubtedly needed to do something about the cost of crewing the cabin, but at the same time the company has taken a lot of cost out of the product, to the extent that business class shorthaul is not worth buying as a standalone product and longhaul is rather 'cheaper' than it was some years ago, although the seat is still up amongst the best.

In short, I believe that BA needs to improve the customer experience and this involves both the product and those delivering.

So, it is important to move on and find a solution that is acceptable to all, in or out of a union and at all the bases.

Only then will BA be able to start to polish up the brand, which is still strong, but tarnished - especially outside the UK.

MCOflyer 23rd Mar 2011 16:28

Thanks Juan

MPN11 23rd Mar 2011 17:59

BA undoubtedly needed to do something about the cost of crewing the cabin, but at the same time the company has taken a lot of cost out of the product, to the extent that business class shorthaul is not worth buying as a standalone product and longhaul is rather 'cheaper' than it was some years ago, although the seat is still up amongst the best.

In short, I believe that BA needs to improve the customer experience and this involves both the product and those delivering.
That is a fundamental marketing issue, and the core of the commercial future viability of BA.

I have a boring collection of data on my 'puter. That tells me, inter alia, that my UK-East Coast TATLs actually cost me [random samples to make the point]...
  • £612 VS PE 2003
  • £595 MaxJet Club 2006
  • £703 BA PE 2007
  • £641 BA PE 2009
  • £628 BA PE 2011

I think there's been a bit of inflation since 2003.
APD has grown to stupid levels.
Yet somehow the cost to me, the SLF, remains broadly constant. Part of that is obviously 'sale marketing', but there's no doubt that the core product has been pared to the bone to stay competitive.

If it wasn't for my ability to upgrade with BA Miles to Club, I could envisage a seriously sub-standard "Premium Economy" service. As has been noted here and in other places, the Club standard is nothing to get excited about either, apart from the nice seat. So something has to give somewhere ... either prices go up to cover costs, or service is degraded to match income, or BA's core costs have to come down.

The latter point is where we are ... BA has to be able to compete on cost and quality. Money spent on expensive CC is not being spent on the SLF. That simply has to stop.

mrpony 24th Mar 2011 10:06

Watersidewonker is back with a message to KTF
Here are a few messages from WtrsdWnkr for those interested:

*I have my flask ready for those cold picket line days bring the company to its knees they are treating the cabin crew like dirt i can't wait for the flight deck to start moaning on nightstops. We standby Bassa as you just can't trust this little i mean very little man and his foot soliders.
*I will be voting yes on my ballot paper as i have seen the way people are treated in BA and the imposition is just another example and i don't need to look anything up as my little cabin crew brain can still think for itself
*I can't help but tell you all the support has increased amongst crew for this dispute so your 5000 number mentioned will swell over the coming days of this dispute await the falling apart of the operation. The last few days I have updates from people on euf and ww telling me of loads of single figures on euf and figures below 30 on ww. Weakness is from the management side and strength from the union side little William your days are numbered.
*What a long game of chess this is turning out to be. I feel we are now stronger and prouder than before to be supporting our union against this dictatorship roll on Friday another great ballot result once again.
*Oh sometimes the truth hurts Bassa remains strong in the face of a broken regime.
*Message to BA cabin crew in dispute with this regime KTF

Keep the faith. Tee Hee. With what?

Juan Tugoh 24th Mar 2011 11:03

The thing about faith is that it is a belief in a thing that cannot be proven due to a lack of facts. It does not have to be based on any form of reality, just faith. The people that believe that the world was created in six days have no proof that this is so, just faith in a book. Faith is wonderful but it will not pay the mortgage or feed the kids. The BASSAmentalists (and I deliberately use that word to describe people like watersidewonker, not all BASSA supporters are BASSAmentalists) certainly have faith but little hope.

Joao da Silva 24th Mar 2011 11:28


I agree with the thrust of what you say.

However, a relatively small group of disaffected employees can be very troublesome.

When you have 5,000 voting for strike action, that is bound to have some effect on an organization.

I believe that this dispute needs to be ended, but that is not to say I believe that BA should give into the demands.

Mariner9 24th Mar 2011 12:22

I have to say that Watersidewonker's posts quoted by MrPony above show an appalling lack of grammar, and make very little sense. Use of the search function reveals many more such examples from him/her, all along the same lines.

He/she sums up the BASSA mentality for me. Blind faith without any attempt at reasoned argument.

I hope I never fly with him/her, or any of his/her like-minded colleagues again. A further strike now would very possibly grant me that wish.

ChicoG 24th Mar 2011 12:53

BASSA seem to me like a drowning man thrashing in the water screaming for help.

Everyone's standing there watching, and no-one is doing anything.

Meanwhile BASSA are convinced that someone or something is coming to the rescue.

I just don't see it. I just see BASSA dying a slow, painful death, with the recriminations coming later, too late to save it.

It's such as shame, because such a large group of employees needs a union, but it needs decent, intelligent and productive leadership, something that's been sadly lacking for a long time.

I've forgotten. When is the next ballot/ballot result?

LD12986 24th Mar 2011 13:03

The ballot result is due around 1 April.

Historically, each additional ballot has lost approximately 2,000 Yes votes so it will be interesting to see whether this continues, and what impact the arrival of KW has on the Yes vote.

I think the vote may go below 5,000 but not lower than 4,000.

Colonel White 24th Mar 2011 15:50

5,000 is a critical figure for Unite. Less than that means under 50% support from the members and more crucially only about one third of the workforce. If you follow this with an estimate of how many might follow through with industrial action, the figure drops even further. Not much point in calling for action if you can only mobilize about 15% of the workforce.

The trouble is that the scattergun approach of putting up 10 reasons for striking may backfire. Rather than bring in more votes in favour it could have the opposite effect. The absence of a single issue that all members can get behind is the biggest problem the union faces.

Apathy will play a large role in the outcome. I reckon that Unite will do well if they can get an 80% response to this ballot, with 63% of those voting supporting industrial action.

just an observer 24th Mar 2011 18:04

I'd guess BASSA will still have a majority of yes votes amongst those who vote at all, but that the overall vote will be down again, and I would also guess that as the total number of yes votes go down, so the % of those voting to strike who actually would be prepared to strike will go up - as they are the diehards among BASSA.

Whether the union would call a strike if the yes vote is low compared to total union membership, as opposed to those who bother to vote, I rather doubt.

It would seem unfair of the union to ask their loyal members to lose their staff travel, possibly for good this time, and earnings, in a futile gesture, and it seems very likely any strike would be just that.

RealFish 24th Mar 2011 21:29

12 days of Easter
Presumably with the ballot closing on 28th, the 4 weeks legal deadline will give Duncan the opportunity to call strike action in time for Easter and then on into the Royal Wedding and May Day Bank Holidays

This of course will allow Duncan to deliver his members up to Bob Crow in support of the Crow's hoped for Wedding Day Tube strike / TUC call for nationwide co-ordinated industrial action (or 'general strike' in any other name).

Looks like BASSA's members have their uses!

I am also struck by the phrase that I have heard and read throughout this clamity and which is at the forefront of Unites communications at the moment. The call for members to 'support their Union' or, alternatively, 'support your reps.' is a telling inversion of what a relationship between a union and its members should be.

Colonel White 24th Mar 2011 23:25

Ahhh.. but you forget that
a) Unite have said that it's not about striking, it's about 'sending a message'
b) Len has said that there would not be strikes over Easter or the Royal Wedding
c) BASSA can't call strike dates. Only Unite can. BASSA is a branch.
d) BASSA have said that they don't need to strike, that the threat of strike action is sufficient to undermine customer confidence in BA
e) BASSA have also said that their cunning plan will be to announce strike dates and then call them off at the last minute - teehee.
f) Len has said that they won't strike but use 'wierd and wonderful' alternatives

Now, I'll cheerfully concede that the BASSA branch secretary (for the moment) may wish to run amok with announcing strike dates, particularly as it would seem that he has lost his appeal at tribunal and is rumoured to also have been threatened with arrest by Surrey Police (see the other place for this) . I'm not so sure that the Unite leadership will want to play this game though. The policy of calling strike action may of itself leave them open to penalties under TULRC if the action is seen to be unprotected. Moreover, in the macho game that is trade union leadership, I can't see Len wanting to be seen as backing down on a strike call if he doesn't get a response from BA management.

I would expect Unite to look very carefully at the numbers coming out of the ballot. If they think they stand a chance of bringing BA to a halt, they may go for strike action, but they would need 100% support in the ballot on 100% turnout and be able to convert that into real strikers. The trouble is that they are faced with a workforce that is predominantly female. Now whilst many may like the idea of watching a royal wedding, they will certainly not want to be associated, or seen to be the people who wanted to rain on that event. So any suggestion of a strike on April 29th or the run up to it may well backfire very badly. The public backlash would make the reaction to the '12 days of Christmas' announcement seem like a mild rebuke.

Bob Crowe may get away with it on the Tube, but then tube drivers are mainly male and probably don't care a toss for any Royal Wedding. There's not exactly an alternative for getting around a lot of London. BA is in a very different place.

Dawdler 25th Mar 2011 00:00

What goes around, comes around.
Following statements attributed to union leaders, they are back to "sending a message". Isn't that what started all this mess?

I suppose they are saying this because they know they cannot rely on the troops to obey the Colonels' orders and actually go on strike.

pcat160 25th Mar 2011 04:29

End Game
During the recent break in the action I have given some thought to the eventual resolution of this battle. There have been statements and opinions that there “has to be” an agreement so things can move forward and the various factions can “come together”. I am not so sure this is the case.

Let’s look at BA first. What would motivate BA to make additional concessions in order to reach an agreement with Unite/Bassa? In the past any agreement
BA have theoretically had with Unite has been vetoed by Bassa. GIven the current list grievances put forward by Bassa there is no way BA can address Unit/Bassa in meaningful negotiation. Currently the “facilities agreement” has been rejected by Bassa and apparently means Bassa and BA have no official recognition of one another. BA can therefor ignore Bassa. Only things that are “contractual” in CC’s employment agreement need to be addressed by BA. Based on personal experience as well as what I have read on this and other forums BA’s customer service on board has remained the same for the last couple years; OK but inconsistent. Mixed Fleet is here and will continue to grow. Mixed Fleet can not grow overnight so BA needs Legacy Fleet for now. It is generally acknowledged that any strike will be of little consequence but will cause strikers to suffer various consequences; permanent loss of staff travel, loss of bonuses, possible termination. Why should BA do anything to alter the status quo? With the passage of time the problem will go away. In fact with each passing month Legacy Fleet becomes less relevant and Mixed Fleet becomes the norm. During this period of transition those 2000 plus who have signed the new employment contracts have their situation established at least for the next several years. BA’s management is not there to provide some kind of feel good environment between every member of the staff. While this would be a worthy goal it is not the primary objective. I think BA should be very content to have a toothless adversary while making the transition to Mixed Fleet. Why should BA management do anything to accommodate Unite\Bassa?

I think the motivation for Bassa’s hierarchy to move forward have been well discussed on this and other forums. Basically there are none. Duncan and crew are history with any resolution of this dispute. I think it is safe to say there will be no resolution that envolves the current Bassa hierarchy.

With the current players in place it is my opinion that there will be no resolution of this dispute. What are the chances of Unite being decertified or Bassa undergoing a complete change of leadership? BA can proceed with their transition to Mixed Fleet and the onboard service will remain the same, inconsistent.

ChicoG 25th Mar 2011 06:36

BA can proceed with their transition to Mixed Fleet and the onboard service will remain the same, inconsistent.
MF crew are significantly cheaper, ergo one can surmise that as their numbers increase, BA can consider adding CC back to the mix, thus improving service.

Of course, this spits in the face of BASSA diehards, but as it's pretty clear that most of them don't give a fig about the airline, can anyone give me a compelling reason why the airline should give a fig about them?

Joao da Silva 25th Mar 2011 06:45


If BA does what you are suggesting, the company exposes its brand to a slow burn over a period of time.

That would be very foolish, in my opinion.

Getting the cost end of a business right is only one part of the equation, the product has to be marketed, too.

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