March 19th, 2010
01:01 PM GMT
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British Airways and the union representing its cabin crew were back at the bargaining table Friday trying to head off a series of two consecutive weekend strikes.

Should BA strip staff of travel perks if they strike?

The two sides met late into the night Thursday, longer than expected.

BA Chief Executive Willie Walsh said little as he left the talks in central London late Thursday. Asked whether he was still hopeful of a resolution, Walsh told CNN's Jim Boulden, "Well, I can tell you this - we'll be flying on Saturday."

The Unite union has decided to strike for three days beginning at midnight Friday, and for four more days beginning March 27. Unite represents 95 percent of BA's 15,000 cabin crew members, but not all of them plan to strike.

The airline has also threatened to cut the travel perks of staff if they decide to take part in a strike.

In January, BA said that any staff member who took part in a strike would no longer receive discounted or free travel on the airline.

The move could be seen as a game changer for staff thinking about striking as many cabin crew members rely on free travel to commute from Europe to the airline's Heathrow base.

We want to know what you think.

Should staff who strike lose their travel perks? Do you think it will persuade members of the airline not to strike?

Filed under: BusinessQuest Means Business


soundoff (70 Responses)
  1. jacobsen kare

    Yes...and take their uniforms too!!!They probably wont need them in the future,if they strike!!

    March 19, 2010 at 1:09 pm |
  2. Gregory K

    Was that the same staff that accepted a salary reduction last year in order to help BA to come over the crisis ?

    March 19, 2010 at 1:21 pm |
  3. Rob B

    It is almost hypocritical that employees who refuse to do any work beyond anything that is expressly laid out in their working agreements and contracts (ever wondered why you don't get a hot towerl in World Traveller Plus?) should receive hugely generous non-contractual benefits and even more so that they should expect to keep them.

    March 19, 2010 at 2:01 pm |
  4. Jane

    @Gregory. No Cabin crew have not accepted any salary reductions. Cabin Crew have not been asked for salary reducations. (The union has offered this but I digress) Pilots have accepted reductions. All other departments have accepted reductions. Cabin Crew are striking because BA dared to impose after the union refused to negotiate (too busy fighting with the other faction). Never mind a court has ruled that this is reasonable and legal. Oh No the courts are in league with BA. I'm not against striking but this strike is completely unjustified. BASSA have taken something with only affected a minority of staff and blown it up into something which will eventually adversely affect the majority of their members. If only they had bothered to negotiate last yer.

    March 19, 2010 at 2:09 pm |
  5. shu

    Yes why should BA continue to give the travel perks? the strike cabin crew should all be sacked.

    March 19, 2010 at 2:22 pm |
  6. Justin

    The strikers are being lead by militant union leaders who, at every turn, offer their members terrible advice. Those in senior positions at the union should be the first to understand the dire state BA finds itself in and would have better served their members by addressing this with them at an earlier stage.

    The foolish and perhaps negligent view they have taken is that no one can impose changes on their members. Whether anything is actually being "imposed" is up for discussion, but they lack the reason to look at BA's precarious standing and work with them rather than against them.

    Their focus seems only to be flexing their muscle and showing that they run the show, and not the company heads. In that regard I applaud Willie Walsh (something I never thought I would say) for standing up to the idiots at unite.

    In short, those that strike should, without doubt, have their perks stripped from them. They have taken a blind, greedy and thoughtless gamble and deserve to feel the bite of their actions.

    My only thought in the matter lies with those that will defy the strike, those that had nothing to do with it and BA as a company. If there was any way to get rid of the strikers permanently and have every one of them lose their jobs I would support it whole heartedly.

    March 19, 2010 at 2:42 pm |
  7. Toyo-C

    Absolutely! If they want a union defending them against their employer then UNITE should give them their perks. Respect is mutual and clearly these cabin crew do not care about BA as an organisation or what this strike could do to them. E.g, I'm a loyal BA customer but if I can't even just plan a holiday and be guaranteed of it after I have paid- then I don't think its fair on me. Let them think of the consequences of BA going DOWN...whose cabin crew will they be then??? Utter crap!!!!

    March 19, 2010 at 2:58 pm |
  8. John

    They should lose all rights to get special fares for relations and also

    be taxed on perks they use on a benefit in kind basis

    March 19, 2010 at 3:08 pm |
  9. Andy

    As long as it is legal for BA to do this, then yes they should (because that is what they said they would do if cabin crew were to strike).

    March 19, 2010 at 3:32 pm |
  10. PampaBull

    Get them off PUCCI GALORE........

    March 19, 2010 at 3:39 pm |
  11. Theresa

    Yes.

    I'm sure the staff will understand. The airline is trying to save money in order to save themselves and the jobs of those who are striking (I hope).

    It makes perfect sense.

    March 19, 2010 at 3:44 pm |
  12. fc

    Maybe , if feasable and legal it would be a sensible measure . In the first place because the perks make no sense anymore. In second place because it might make the Crew Cabin rethink what is the kind of leaders they need to defend their interests nowadays !
    Woudn´t it be fairer to take away perks from everyone, not as a punishment but as an obsolete tool ? And for everibody`s sake and money try a mediators help , as we may still face some months in difficult economic environment . And then simply knock down the subject to private competitive ground ,,,

    March 19, 2010 at 4:34 pm |
  13. John Crawford

    Airlines, as a whole, have cut back on the perks/incentives they give to travellers so it seems only correct that they should cut back on perks for staff too.

    In years gone by, airline staff maybe were underpaid and the perks helped balance the overall package. But now they appear to be paid fairly and in line with other industies. I have to pay for myself/family to go on vacation, so they should too.

    Employees need to realise that airlines arte losing money and NOBODY has an "entitlement" to PERKS and/or even a JOB. They have to earn them

    March 19, 2010 at 7:22 pm |
  14. John

    Oh my god! One of the reasons pay is so low at airlines is due to the fact that they after benefits such as free/reduced travel.

    I'm not sure what all the BA contract calls for but I know at my airline we are only paid when the door is closed, and there is talk that the company is trying to get that changed to benefit them.

    You know all that time we spend on the plane together where the passengers are all trying to get to their seats, ringing the call bells for us to put your bags up in the overheads for you, get you water for pills, make sure all the catering is done, check safety equipment and generally making sure everyone is where they are suppose to be? How about all that time it takes for you to get off the aircraft? Assist with minors that travel alone, make reports and file them on the medical emergencies we deal with?

    Yeah, all that time we don't get paid for, but we can get fired if we don't do something the companies way.

    So you want to take away our travel benefits? Management has successfully turned this into a "Us -vs- Then" issue. It happens all the time.

    You want to know why you don't get that hot towel you think you deserve? You want to know why you don't get that pillow? Probably because the company has done to other work groups what it is trying to do to those that save your life in an emergency and they have given up.

    Ask a caterer is they care about your hot towel... enjoy their laughter.

    March 19, 2010 at 8:58 pm |
  15. brian

    absolutely not! we still live in a democracy where it is our right to take industrial action without fear of reprisals. ba press are churning out propoganda which the press are only too eager to publish. the cabin crew have allready made changes to there terms and onditions which are not being advertised. they have also offered more savings than any other department in ba but the company have continually refused them. this is about breaking the union so that mr walsh can push through the rest of his plans. think we should give the crew a break

    March 19, 2010 at 10:53 pm |
  16. cpf747

    This should not be removed from them. They have a legal right to strike as does everyone else. I wish people who know nothing of this dispute other than what the media tell them would not comment. Most comments are viscious, childish and full of jealousy for what they think is a crew members lifestyle. If your boss was after your pay and terms and conditions, what would you do? Just turn over and take it without a fight?

    March 19, 2010 at 10:54 pm |
  17. cpf747

    BA makes £40M a year from these so called "perks". Is that saving any money? I think not ! Crew have the right to strike like anyone else. If your boss was to try and change your terms and conditions and lower your pay what would you do?

    March 19, 2010 at 10:57 pm |
  18. Caroline

    BA makes millions of pounds from staff travel.
    Please remember that staff only get a seat IF it isn't sold to a fare paying passenger?.
    So more losses for them.....yet again!
    This threat was targeted for commuting stafff who need staff travel to get to work....and they were recruited on that promise....isn't that contractual?
    And, by the way, as an aside, it is illegal to discrimate against people who have taken 'LEGAL' industrial action. They will have to remove it from all or none.
    How many people know that of the 401 million pound loss, 350 million were fines were for price fixing? And now fines for price fixing to South Africa for the next World Cup!
    Great management....?

    March 19, 2010 at 11:01 pm |
  19. cpf747

    I only hope that the lies that come from willie walsh's mouth would be seen for what they are....I believe this weekend may show BA management for what they really are !

    March 19, 2010 at 11:03 pm |
  20. Dan C

    It's probably not known to many but BA make millions of pounds from staff using Staff Travel every year as it is more profitable for them to have a seat filled than fly with an empty one......if all strikers lose their staff travel then BA will be losing more money.....it would be financially a silly move for BA to take this perk away.....anyway,this threat is just a threat and has been used in order to intimidate it's staff in to not striking. A very large percentage of crew commute from Europe and the rest of the world to get to work....if you stop them from doing this immediately then the operation would grind to a halt as quick as you can say 'strike'!!!

    March 19, 2010 at 11:16 pm |
  21. Garmac

    Hey Mr Rob B, is it in the contract that you should work more hours whenever it pleases your boss and have to do more work since you'd have less workers? Wake up, if you want to be taken advantage of, why don't you join the airline?

    March 19, 2010 at 11:53 pm |
  22. Anne

    I think they have the largest number of cabin crew I have ever seen working their flights. I fly Phila to London and I find it amazing. I was told not to talk while I waited to use the bathroom because some crew members were sleeping. I want the job!!!Go to work or quit. There are plenty of people who want the job. I work in a hospital and don't get the salary or perks they do.

    March 19, 2010 at 11:55 pm |
  23. ah

    These travel perks generate millions in revenue for B A.It is one of the lowest cost base departments within the airline... A flight for a discount . yes however if the seat is not empty you don't get on anyway.Money for nothing as far as B A is concerned Another threat by the airline, yet more money they are prepared to throw away.

    March 19, 2010 at 11:57 pm |
  24. Luke Hogan

    I am a former airline pilot. I know a lot of flight attendants and the only reason they put up with the low pay and grueling work schedule is for their travel benefits. If you think your service on BA is bad now, just wait until they go hire somebody from the terminal hot dog stand to do the work.

    The "perks" are the pay. That's the whole point. You want to see an airline in a tailspin? See what happens when thousands of their flight attendants decide not to strike and begin calling in sick in outstations, writing up broken arm rests for non-compliance (leaving you behind), and generally throwing a wrench in the system. Why passengers don't want well-paid, happy crew members (pilots and flight attendants) is beyond me.

    March 20, 2010 at 12:59 am |
  25. Dan C

    FC.....I really don't understand your comment. How is staff travel an obselete perk? It's a perk. Why is it obselete? 50% of crew need staff travel to get to work and for the others it a reward fir their hard work and finally it's so BA make more profit per flight. You must remember that staff still have to pay for their 'perk'. It's not free seats that are given away. A flight to New York let's say costs about £110 for staff.

    March 20, 2010 at 1:57 am |
  26. Peter Payne

    Strikers rely on taking money paid from customers and holding them hostage for wage negotiations. This would be okay if those customers could walk up to the strikers and take their wallets.

    No one cares whether this form of mugging is legal. It's unethical. And punishes innocent people by stranding them when their time is most precious – just before a wedding, during a limited vacation time, etc.

    March 20, 2010 at 2:42 am |
  27. Ted

    Corrections incl: the 'perk' of staff travel rewards long service with just ONE free flight per year, subject to availability & usual standby restrictions..

    The remainder are discounted & available, loads permitting, on a standby basis only – they provide considerable revenue to BA for seats that would otherwise go empty, yeilding ZERO £'s.. & yet their CEO suggests he can 'recoup costs' by removing the perk..???

    Almost a third of the 13000 workforce rely on PAID FOR staff travel tickets to commute to their place of work & yet were prepared to risk losing that 'perk' with a 'yes' vote.. ask yourselves why

    If it were legal.. & it would only be that if the perk was removed from ALL employees, incl the many thousands of BA managers bloating their HQ.. why would YOU eradicate a source of income at a time when every penny counts..???

    At a time when a Co quibbles about a £10m mathmatical interpretation of savings, incl PAY CUTS offered & yet will waste £27m preparing for an industrial action that they appear to want more than the staff themselves..

    Remember, it wasn't the loyal front-line staff, cabin crew incl, who incurred the near 3/4 billion in fines for price fixing notso long ago..

    Who's your Baddy..???

    March 20, 2010 at 2:48 am |
  28. David

    Airlines are hugely unprofitable. United, Continental, US Airways, Delta, and Northwest have all declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy at one point or another. Pan-Am is now just a shadow of its former self. TWA has fallen into the dustbin of history. Given this economy and rising fuel costs, this was not a good time for the union to strike. Lost ticket revenue plus the added expense of now having to pay for the lodgings for all travelers stranded abroad will severely hurt BA's ability to remain competitive in a declining market. How will it recover lost revenue?

    Depending upon the number of employees who cross the picket line, BA's ability to hire replacement personnel, and the company's cash reserves, the union's attempt to force the airline back to the negotiating table could backfire.

    March 20, 2010 at 4:00 am |
  29. Jeannie Howell

    BA and other airline managment think that crew are running around with tons of money and traveling....With the starting pay of 11,000 pounds, it wouldn't matter if you had travel privledges or not, you couldn't afford to go anywhere.

    BA wants their cabin crew to work for peanuts and smile about it. Sooner or later you get what you pay for. If cabin crew are paid lowly, then you get workers that are unskilled, and not dedicated. Then you'll have not only poor service, but possibly crew that can not function in an emergency.

    Captain Sulley said that with the way airlines treat their employees, the days of having skilled, experienced, and dedicated crew members (flight deck and cabin) are numbered. US Air's 3 (Miracle on the Hudson) cabin crew had seniortiy of over 20 years each.

    Cabin crews from around the world have put up with pirate CEOs and greedy airline managment for nearly 10 years now. Enough is enough.

    March 20, 2010 at 4:03 am |
  30. Tal

    Absolutely they should lose the perks. I can't believe the arrogance of these people. They are ddestroying their own livelyhood. What fools.

    March 20, 2010 at 4:29 am |
  31. Ben

    As for no hot towels in World Traveller Plus, here's the explanation. UNITE, along with its members, were insisting that BA should put on another crew member for this simple task which takes 2 minutes at the most but they do have time to get as much crew rest as possible and chat away in the galley. BA refused to put on another crew member (I suppose UNITE or any of its members can calculate what that would cost) and that's why passengers in World Traveller Plus don't get any hot towels.

    March 20, 2010 at 4:40 am |
  32. manuel

    it is sad to see that many americans who comment on our perks do not know anything about them! we pay full taxes on those perks and by the way, we have the most expensive staff travel discount on the planet, not to say the worst perks! my friends at other airlines get much better perks. How does a Lisbon to New York return flight for 40 euros sound? thats a friend who works for TAP. Guess what too, they get more pay than me! you see, you just dont know what you're talking about. And all you jealous people who say they shoudl take this perk from us, you just wished you could do new york to san fran for 50 bucks! Apart from getting commens from americans like: oh i love ur english, where u from? England! Oh really what language do they speak? english like you! oh no, we speak american!!!!! nutters!

    March 20, 2010 at 4:49 am |
  33. David

    It s outrageous to see that in 2010 , in Euope , in a democracy like the UK , threats , bullying and harrassement are used against workers rights ...Mr Walsh looks like Fidel Castro or Hugo Chavez and does not anyone to speak out ...Cabin Crew are not asking for more money just to keep their terms and conditions and are willing to make reasonable changes..They have not robbed anyone !They are not criminals ! Which kind of planet this management is living on ?

    March 20, 2010 at 5:09 am |
  34. Jim in Geneva

    The petulant and unprofessional behaviour of the BA cabin crew – flag-waving and cheering at Friday's Unite meeting being a very good example – have eroded all the support the travelling public may have ever had for the cabin crew: myself included, a long-term Gold Card holder.

    It's blindingly obvious that the neo-Trotskyites of Unite are more than happy to destroy BA.

    Stripping the strikers of their very generous travel perks is just a first step. Remember: these are discretionary benefits granted by BA management, *not* an entitlement! While the cabin crew will cry like whipped piggies, they remain oblivious to the damage they are doing to a company already on the ropes, while management is working their hardest to stay solvent and competitive in what is now a cut-throat market.

    And if BA implodes because of this? Don't point an accusing finger at Wille Walsh or the BA board. Instead, point it at the umpteen-thousand ex-BA staff who will be queueing up for their dole payments.

    My wish is that these (thank you, Margaret Thatcher) "moaning Minnies" will be kicked to the kerb and replaced by people who will be dumb-a***d grateful to have a job while the global economy lurches from pillar to post.

    The cabin crew think they're *ENTITLED* to a job? That they somehow have an equal voice as management? Keep smokin' that crack, Unite.

    March 20, 2010 at 5:41 am |
  35. Jane Mitchell

    I wish some of you people would stop believing the spin from both media and BA. We have offered a pay cut – more than any other dept, but of course that is never reported!! We have also offered to get rid of many other benefits, including changes in working practice, which will save BA money.
    I'm frustrated reading comments from people who do not FULLY KNOW ,the truth and just jump on the BA spin bandwagon.
    How would you like to spend your working life having to appologise to your customers for lack of product, inept customer service, and being ignored when you email Mr Walsh/Mr Broughton!! This is what I'm being told by our valuable loyal customers who spend thousands with us. It's very frustrating.
    None of us want to strike, believe me, but when you have a bully as a leader who has organised a campaign of terror, harrassment& threaten you with suspension if you try and explain to your customers the honest reason for what is happening, believe me we have no choice!! No one is being misled by the Unions, trust me we just have no other option left to try and make Walsh see sense and bring this company back to what it once was. We are nopt asking for a pay rise, we have, and i say it again, offered a substantial pay cut.
    Funny how you dont hear much about the fines BA has been given due to top managers in price fixing etc – what has happened to them....left BA with a BIG golden handshake......is that right, fair?? No its not. Who is paying for these fines......thats why they want us on £2.60 pr hour, with a basic of £12,000. We are based in London, who can get a mortgage on that salary.

    We know its tough out there, but if I lose the travel perks, which make me laugh....as 1/ they are not free 2/ we only get on if there is an empty seat. then so be it. It is the only small perk that we got, when you got on.

    The only staff with guranteed staff travel are the people at the top with their First priorities after weeks of being in the company. Quite frankly it's not worth the paper it's written on.

    Please folks, dont believe everything you read in the press......we are not the baddies, who dont want to change, its just not true!!!!

    After 24yrs service to this company, who I have always been so proud to work for, I am so embarrassed that I do not even want to tell people who i work for. I am an ordinary, hard working, working class girl who is just trying to fight for a decent living, like many of you would, if you were threatened.

    March 20, 2010 at 6:52 am |
  36. grahamty

    When a 1/3 of his workforce can't commute to work. His problems are really going to escalate. These perks sound good on the outside, but you still pay taxes. £75 return to commute to Europe, is not really much cheaper than the standard fare, and sometimes considerably more expensive than no frills. Many staff don't use it any more, as you are always on standby, with no guarantee of a seat. Staff travel is also worth millions to BA. Walsh will deny this, but money for an otherwise empty seat must save millions each year. This man has no morals or business sense. The sooner he's replaced, the better.

    March 20, 2010 at 7:02 am |
  37. Craig

    Absolutely. Unfortunately, unions such as this serve their representatives, not their members and most members don't realise it. We are in the midst of a situation where maybe 25% of world airlines are solvent and those who depend on them for a living want to make it harder for them to trade out of it – who does that serve. Is there a union election coming up?

    March 20, 2010 at 8:30 am |
  38. CW

    I always find comments on subjects like these truly bizarre. The majority of individuals commentating on this blog are probably employees themselves, and probably on low to middle incomes. You will all have met, or know, or work under bullying bosses who are in their positions as a result of privileged and back stabbing rather than any innate abilities. Yet when it comes to employees standing up for themselves in the only way they can, by withdrawing their labour (which by the way, in common with ALL strikes, they will not be paid for), everyone seems to assume that the managers are telling the 100% gospel truth and must be blameless!

    Is it not possible that the managers are incompetent bullies who are taking BA down the wrong path? Or is everyone here so blinkered that they can't see beyond the media propaganda, which is obviously anti-union as it is all owned by rich men who make their fortunes off the back of people that actually do all the work.

    Wake up, think for yourselves,and stop being a tool of the rich who love nothing more than to see ordinary working people distracted by tearing into each other.

    March 20, 2010 at 10:16 am |
  39. Kris K

    Strikes are totally obsolete, it does not help in improving anyone's financial conditions. The right to strikes should be stricktly limited, there is way too much leniency.
    Take Switzerland's example : Since WW2 the country's experienced 3 strikes, in 1947 (12,000 construction workers 1 day strike), in 2002 (15,000 construction workers for 1 day in protest of their employers' refusal to sign a negotiated contract) and in 2008 (the cantonTicino 500 railway maintenance workers went on strike over the closing down of their workshop).
    The last general strike took place in 1918, when the Swiss Army fired on 250,000 protesting workers, killing three.
    In 1937, unions and employers signed an accord that became the foundation for enduring consensus-building. Why can't the French and English work on the same principles.

    March 20, 2010 at 11:07 am |
  40. Steve

    Hmm, i wonder which people voted "no" on this article... let me think.

    March 20, 2010 at 12:52 pm |
  41. Andy

    If BA cancels benefits for striking workers, they will make their workplace an unpleasant place to work, kill team morale and this will only manifest as a poorer/more-unfriendly service to the customers and potentially prompt ongoing industrial action. This would be a very bad move for BA management. If BA is unable to manage staff effectively, then other airlines who are able to do so should start taking on BAs routes and BA should close. Clearly the management are unable to manage a business effectively – your staff are important and should not be bulldozed. I get just as good service from a BMI cabin attendant as I do from a BA one, BA is nothing special and clearly the high pay for such s position is no longer needed. But it seems this is being handled very badly by the leadership.

    March 20, 2010 at 1:03 pm |
  42. Dennis D

    Yes, never bite the hand that feeds you!

    March 20, 2010 at 4:32 pm |
  43. Kris K

    It is the unions that are abusing the system and abusing with bully and threats tactics. Cabin crew are quite well taken care off by their companies. If an employee wants more, then he/she always has the choice to find work elsewhere. Biut that is the problem none of them are willing to work harder or better to earn more.
    Too darn lazy if you ask me, keep what is gained and ask for more without giving more.
    The uniions are being totally unreasonable. Push too hard one time too many and one day the inflight crew will be outsourced to foreign countries, just like on cruise liners. Very easy to setup for global companies like BA.

    March 20, 2010 at 6:55 pm |
  44. Clive Johnson

    Yes. Some kind of penalty should be placed on the strikers. BA staff have some of the best working conditions and perks in the business. Ask the staff of the competitor airlines, not to speak of Easyjet and Ryanair, what kind of pay they receive! The major problem for frequent (gold card) travellers like myself is BA's now newly instated reputation of uncertainty and unreliability. Like many others, I cannot keep flight bookings for important meetings in the 60% hope that the flight MAY take off, or may not, or MAY be replaced by a franchisee. And this situation is now forecast for over 1 week – with the possiblity of further strikes. NO it is not good enough. I have been forced to cancel 2 flights and switch airlines to ensure that I will arrive in time. If this continues the staff involved may in time find that they are permanently on strike ie unemployed. Consider the fates of Panam, Swissair, TWA, etc etc. It does not take much to wreck an airline. And competitors of the Star and Skyteam alliances are merely rubbing their hands at the extra business!

    March 20, 2010 at 7:40 pm |
  45. David

    They should fire all those inconsiderate jerks. Who do they think they are? PhD's in Astrophysics? I'm sorry, it's serving coffee and tea and other bartender like skills for which they're paid three times as much as their counterparts. And they want their perks? What jerks

    March 22, 2010 at 2:20 pm |
  46. georgesmith

    Apart from their perks, why is it necessary to bus them to the centre of cities and put them up in 4 star hotels, instead of airport hotels such as other airlines. As a shareholder, this seems an unncecessary expense.

    March 22, 2010 at 11:26 pm |
  47. Michael

    'Jane' and many others continue to peddle BA apocrypha ..........

    (a.) All other workgroups have NOT agreed to cost savings. Pilots have taken a £26m pay cut in return for £13m of tax-free share bonuses. HOWEVER, baggage handlers, terminal staff and MT have agreed to nothing and BA's union busting strategies are also being employed on these workgroups too.

    (b.) The 'New Fleet' proposal affects EVERY SINGLE cabin crew member. If this fleet is implemented without safeguards for existing crew and with the legal minimum IR framework (as BA propose), thousands of us will be unable to pay our mortgages within MONTHS.

    We have voted 9-1 and 8-2 in favour of industrial action. People are very angry. Don't belittle our grievance. I'm staring repossession in the face.

    March 24, 2010 at 3:08 pm |
  48. Aisling

    British Airways actively recruited people in European countries as London based cabin crew, telling them they could commute using their staff travel perks, which are NOT FREE! Also, they closed all their regional bases within the UK and offered the staff there London based cabin crew jobs, again explaining that they can commute to work using staff travel. As a result, BA not have one third of their cabin crew commuting by flight from other parts of the UK and Europe. Now, because these crew took part in PERFECTLY LEGAL industrial action, they are taking away their only way of getting to work. Isn't this going to have a huge impact on BA's operation, given that one third of their crew can no longer get to work. Or has that been BA's plan all along, to get rid of these people by sacking them for not being able to get to work after the strike has ended?

    March 24, 2010 at 4:54 pm |
  49. Aisling

    georgsmith, in response to your uninformed comment. You'll find that airport hotels are very much more expensive than hotels away from the airport. Also, crew are only put up in city centre hotels if they are a big chain like Marriot or Westin, who BA have contracts with for heavily discounted room rates. Others are in the middle of nowhere, miles from the city. BA do not, and never have gone to any unnecessary expense for hotels. For example, the can guarantee Marriott hotels that they can fill 40 rooms per night, every night in some hotels and therefore get them heavily discounted.

    March 24, 2010 at 5:00 pm |
  50. Aisling

    Get it out of your heads that staff travel is a perk, IT IS HOW WE GET TO WORK!

    March 24, 2010 at 5:02 pm |
  51. Elisa

    I am not employed by BA, but I voted NO. Mr Walsh will be giving up a valuable revenue stream if these flt attendants no longer travel to work. Although it is "low yield" it 's still better than 0. Makes no sense and neither does the expense to train all new people to replace them. Management should never have allowed it to come to a strike, they have a responsibility to their employees, customers and share holders to avoid messes like this. Nobody takes a strike vote lightly, so something is clearly amiss at BA. Communication is necessary, you can't force changes to a contract, they have to be negotiated.

    The airline industry has been in economic crisis since the aftermath of 2001. Hundreds of thousands of employees worldwide have been negatively impacted. Temporary pay and vacation cuts have become permanent over the years, as have frequent lay-offs. In the past the call to support the company when in crisis, for the future good of all, was a compelling argument. None of it was ever repaid.

    In recent years the cause for the problems has been bad management and executive greed. Big exec. bonuses have angered many airline work groups. The global economic crisis now impacts all industries, but the airlines particularly, because corporate "fat cats" can no longer justify the premium seats. The jerk who thinks his missing hot towel is his major cause for complaint should take the bus to Cartegena! Bottom line, the days of luxury and being pampered while you fly, are becoming a distant memory for many.

    Flight attendants are on the aircraft primarily for safety and emergency procedures, for which they are extensively trained and fit for. Who will be whining if you can't get out of the plane in an emergency? My understanding is, the flt attendants are not asking BA for an extra attendant on the plane just to serve towels. Instead they oppose the arbitrary decrease imposed by BA, on the number previously deemed necessary for safety, for years. We need to understand the facts, not the emotions.

    Shouldn't travelers want to be sure any changes will not diminish their safety and well-being in-flight? What good is your pillow and duvet, smoke salmon and champagne in your lie flat seat in an emergency? What are you people thinking!!!

    We are not talking about taking the toys away from naughty kids! I recommend many of the bloggers here find the facts before commenting in the future and you folks with the gold cards etc., watch out, because if we end up with "no frills" airlines across the board, your card will soon be history.

    March 25, 2010 at 6:25 am |
  52. Dean Kuenzli

    It doesn't matter what BA thinks about removing staff perks. It's illegal by UK law to remove something that has become part of their contract. If BA want to save cost, why not try in the back office, compared to every other major airline their overhead costs are simply too big. What lifts BA above other airlines are their frontline staff, from check-in to cabin crew.

    March 26, 2010 at 7:55 pm |
  53. James Bird

    Obviously no one on here as ever flown as a Flight Attendant for 15,20,30 years plus, lets hope none of you choke next time you travel.

    Makes me wonder why individuals want to look after the public?
    There is no respect for anyone these days, you should all be ashamed of your selves!

    March 26, 2010 at 9:00 pm |
  54. Graeme

    These staff appear to be victims of corporate bullying. Willie Walshes C.V is nothing short of a disgrace.

    March 26, 2010 at 9:46 pm |
  55. Charlie

    I say let's take away all perks. Why should people who work in supermarkets get discounted food (yes, it would be thrown away but so what)? Hotel workers get discounted rooms (yes, they'd be empty otherwise but so what)? People who work for Toyota or Ford get discounted vehicles (yes, they'd remain unsold but so what)? People who work for Apple get cheap laptops or iPhones (yes, it's good advertising for a company's staff to use the company's products but so what)? People who work in banks and building societies get discounts on loans (yes, we've bailed them out after they crashed the world economy – oh, that doesn't work does it)? People who work for – say – pharmaceutical companies based in Chicago get Club World seats when they could easily sit squished in economy with the other passengers (you know who you are)?
    Yes, why should staff who have spent years working for an airline be allowed to buy a seat at a discounted rate from the company they work for who would otherwise fly with that seat empty? Whatever next ...they'll expect to be paid for turning up to work. If only Thatcher was here she'd sort them out blah blah blah..

    March 26, 2010 at 10:00 pm |
  56. Louise

    The ignorance and rudeness portrayed in the some of these comments is horrendous.

    I concur James. Why would anyone want to run around after such people. It's beneath them.

    March 26, 2010 at 10:39 pm |
  57. CPT777

    Discriminating people because they have taken part in a lawful industrial action is against workers rights and human rights . BA management looks like a dictatorship regime similar to the ones in Cuba and Burma .
    I am a captain for BA and I have flown empty aircrafts last week end around LHR just to satisfy BA management ego and lies.

    March 26, 2010 at 10:40 pm |
  58. susie

    James, you are a star and I luv the curls!!!! Those of you who have stuck to a job for 15 to 20 years and live in London area, how much are you on??? 30 – 40k plus i would imagine. Are you perceived as greedy and lazy as BA are being branded by our own employer?? No didn't think so. As for the travel perks, everyone I know is very, very jealous that we have this benefit, hence the reason that most of these posts are so vicious. Green eyed monsters. When all you lot are on your Bank Holiday Mondays, cabin crew are working, when your tucking in to your Xmas dinner, cabin crew are working, when its a child school play the Mum"s cabin crew are working. We accept these conditions as part of the job. How many of you vicious posters on here could raise a smile at 3am in the morning when you are returning from Vancouver after arriving there only 24 hours before with an 8hr time difference?? Not many. We are shift workers and are paid accordingly and the staff benefits are not as good as Virgin, they get 7 free tickets a year, so woopee i lose one! Do me a favour all of of you and google union busting companies and you will find the real reason behind this strike. Goodnight.

    March 26, 2010 at 10:57 pm |
  59. Martin

    It's a 'me' society we live in these days, It is seriously depressing how ill informed people make judgements on ordinary workers...Cabin crew are without doubt the least militant people you can imagine. They are people who actually enjoy serving and making people happy on their flights...they are not only fighting for their own terms and conditions, but they are fighting to retain BA as an airline which gives excellent service and security to passengers.. Willie walsh will strip BA passengers of this but still charge them 'premier' prices.

    March 27, 2010 at 1:42 am |
  60. simon

    Break the Unions? Get rid of the Unions?

    There is a single English word for this:

    SLAVERY

    March 27, 2010 at 6:57 pm |
  61. Jake

    Most employees in the uk at present really want to keep their job, the fact that some BA trolley waiters in the sky are striking is really disgusting. If you don’t like your job then leave and go find another role, the similar is a waitress in a bar and they earn far less than you, complaint less and don’t have the bonus’s

    March 28, 2010 at 12:28 am |
  62. David Carter

    I am BA cabin crew, lost my perks, but to those of you thinking we get free ticket I just give an example : LHR-JFK one way on stand-by 120 pounds!!!! Hardly free or very cheap

    March 28, 2010 at 8:57 am |
  63. K Ttofias

    Why are some people so keen to see working people stripped of their rights?

    It's illegal in this country to discriminate against a group of people for taking part in union activity.

    If they take the travel concessions away from the strikers they have to take them from all staff.

    This was a legal strike.
    Voted for twice.

    Yes cost cutting was neccesary and the unions suggested many ways of doing this but Mr Walsh decided to impose changes and this is what he has created.
    For the CEO to have allowed the industrial relations in his company to get to this point he has clearly failed.

    March 28, 2010 at 10:07 am |
  64. Jessie from Auckland, NZ

    @Elisa March 25th, 2010 6:25 am ET

    Yes, I think that's what they could be aiming for.......the "No Frills" airlines and probably "slave labour" as well.

    The executives can help out also and do their part with pay-cuts as well, I should think. Don't impose it on others and not themselves. What hypocrites.

    April 2, 2010 at 1:59 pm |
  65. Jessie from Auckland, NZ

    What a nightmare.

    April 2, 2010 at 2:28 pm |
  66. Megan Thompson

    Fidel Castro would always be an icon of history evethough he is against the U.S.'".

    May 21, 2010 at 3:40 am |
  67. Lewis Robinson

    Fidel Castro still have some good legacies despite his not so good repuation.~`:

    July 19, 2010 at 8:57 am |
  68. Lady

    I just wondering how many of you people think it's such an easy job? I am not flight crew. But I have often thought, It must be horrible doing their job as all they are really is waitress's in the Air but have any off you thought how you would feel after that journey ? I myself do not feel good after any flying. I have sat back and watched when they have been on busy jobs. The amount of complaining some of the passengers give the crew, And sometimes what they are complaining about , The problem is no way the crews fault? I know you get some great crew and some dreadful ones. The same as you get good and dreadful passengers. Any way their basic money is not that brilliant. OK yes they travel every day and quite often they do a turn around only seeing same airport or in some airlines have to clear all mess passengers make, before turning back to come back to London . !
    They also have to look great all the time make up on, hair nice, all that in itself is very hard to keep at when flying. And to top it all at least waitresses do not get as many tables /people to wait on. T he waitress's actually get a tip to top up there salaries..... That trolley is very heavy and Tea and Coffee is hard to pour up in the Air, Turbulance and making sure everyone is behaving and happy. So what they were striking for, The pay cut. I do not blame them. Also they never get a tip for the service they provide, to make up their salary. So maybe If BA had cut the wages , They should of also bought in compulsive tipping service after all, They are only waitresses in the air...

    September 6, 2010 at 7:40 pm |
  69. Pine Wardrobe `

    Fidel Castro may not be a hero for western countries but he did a good job in providing subsidized medical care in Cuba**`

    October 11, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
  70. icon downloads

    In my opinion you are mistaken. I suggest it to discuss.

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