21 December 2010
Cabin crew at British Airways will start to vote today (Tuesday) in a fresh ballot for industrial action at the airline said their union, Unite.
Voting papers are being sent to more than 10,000 cabin crew at BA as the dispute between the parties deepens over punishments imposed on crew, a new tier of crew introduced on poorer terms but without the workforce’s agreement and concerns about an organised anti-union campaign at the airline.
Tony Woodley, Unite joint general secretary, said: “When this dispute started, the issue was making savings to help the company through a very difficult period for the industry. The union offered multi-million pound concessions which all but met management’s requirements. BA however preferred imposition, provoking a dispute which has cost the company vastly greater sums and done great damage to its reputation. The dispute has been prolonged by vindictive measures directed against cabin crew – in recent months, BA has put nearly 70 loyal workers through hell and sacked 13 of them because they supported their union. This is surely unprecedented in modern day British corporate life.
We have made every effort in prolonged negotiations with management to find an acceptable resolution to the outstanding problems but sadly find that we must now conduct a fresh ballot in order to defend our members.
BA knows what it must to do stop this dispute from escalating. The issues between us would cost BA not a single penny to resolve. It is now a matter of them showing the leadership to get back round the table with us to settle this through negotiation.”
Unite says the five issues between the crew and the airline are:
- The immediate restoration of staff travel concessions, in full, to the crew from whom they were taken by BA.
- Binding arbitration, through Acas, of all cabin crew disciplinary cases related to the original dispute, which led to 22 days of strike action between March and May 2010.
- The restoration of all earnings docked from crew who were genuinely off sick during strike dates.
- Full and proper discussion of the trade union facilities agreement at the company with the immediate removal of all threats and sanctions made by BA in relation to this.
- The introduction of mixed fleet on different terms and conditions without the agreement of the trade union.
The ballot will close on 21 January 2011.