To commemorate the season of giving, BA cabin crews have decided to give their passengers a very special gift: the middle finger.
I am not one who is completely unsympathetic to union concerns, but see if this makes sense to you:
- BA reported a £217M ($352M) loss in the last six-month reporting period
- BA expects to lose £800M this fiscal year (pre-tax) and lost £401M last year
- BA has a pension deficit of £3.7B
- Therefore, BA cabin crew unions do not want any cutbacks
Admittedly, it is not that simple but I find it hard to believe that BA’s front-line employees are so willing to put their company (and their own jobs) at risk. As BA said:
A 12-day strike would be completely unjustified and a huge over-reaction to the modest changes we have announced for cabin crew which are intended to help us recover from record financial losses.
In an attempt to cut losses, BA has proposed minor changes like the elimination of one flight attendant (15 -> 14) on 747 flights and an overall elimination of about 1,700 cabin crew. These changes sound reasonable to me.
Thankfully, a strike is not a sure thing:
The union said it remained open to negotiations, but only if BA reverses changes to working practices that it already has imposed.
For the sake of BA and it’s many passengers over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, I hope that replacement FA’s are trained in time to take the place of the pouting children or a compromise is reached. As one analyst said:
It takes years to train pilots and engineers but it only takes weeks to train cabin crew.
Many of the 900,000 passengers scheduled to travel with BA over the 12-day proposed strike period may find themselves stranded if a strike takes place. Although, they will receive a refund, I bet they will have trouble finding alternative arrangements at a similar price to get to where they need to go. For local travel, I suspect British Midland, EasyJet, and RyanAir are excited.
Willie Walsh, the BA chief executive, said: “They have no justification for threatening such extreme action. It is very sad they are seeking to use the Christmas holiday plans and family reunions of hundreds of thousands of people to try to pursue their case.”
Amen to that.
While I honestly hope the strike is averted, I am flying from Vancouver to London on December 28 on Air Canada. A bump would be nice…