It’s been a couple of months since British Airways and the union that represents its Mixed Fleet Cabin Crew agreed to talks over a bitter pay dispute. The two sides had been at loggerheads for months with Unite the union claiming British Airways was paying its staff “poverty pay”.
But on 15th March, The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) announced that it had secured an agreement with BA and Unite to start arbitration. At the time, both sides remained tight-lipped about when the negotiations would start. Yet the rhetoric coming from both BA and Unite was quickly silenced.
Things went so quiet that we’ve heard absolutely nothing about how the talks were going – But it now looks like there was plenty of progress behind the scenes. In fact, negotiations have gone so well that we understand a revised pay offer has now been tabled to serving Cabin Crew.
“Members of mixed fleet cabin crew are currently voting on a revised offer from the company following talks,” confirmed Alex Flynn, Head of media at Unite. Flynn would not be drawn on what that revised pay offer looked like.
Revised Pay Offer Now on the Table
However, we have learn’t that British Airways has been persuaded to significantly up its pay and benefits package for Mixed Fleet Crew. Hourly flying pay will increase a modest amount – just 8 pence more to £3.14 per hour (paid from check-in to arrival back home). But the real increase will be seen in the form of a new allowance called the Day Off Allowance (DOA).
The DOA will see Cabin Crew receiving £10 for every trip with an overnight stay and then £5 Night Allowance for every evening away from home. Mixed Crew work both short-haul and long-haul routes and generally do 4-5 trips a month with at least one night away from home.
The basic salary is also set to increase to £13,100 per year – although we’re slightly sad to see the old basic salary of £12,747 go. We’ve estimated that new BA crew should take home an extra £150-£200 per month with the new deal.
Reaction to the Deal is Mixed
Of course, that’s only if they agree to the new deal. The proposal was sent out to all Mixed Fleet crew last week and members have just over a week to submit their ballot. It’s believed that reaction to the pay deal has been mixed. This one might be too close to call.
— Unite the union (@unitetheunion) January 18, 2017
The relationship with management and Flight Attendants reached a new low in December when union members voted for a two-day strike that was scheduled to impact Christmas Day and Boxing Day. That action was called off at the last minute but a slew of other strikes went ahead over the following months.
The dispute revolves around whether British Airways is misleading its staff. The airline claims Mixed Fleet crew should earn between £21,000 to £25,000 per year. The union dismisses that estimate and instead alleges Cabin Crew are seeing an annual salary of just £12,000.
Benefits to be Restored?
Aggrieved workers claim they joined British Airways on false pretences and can’t even afford to eat with the pay they receive each month. However, BA has said two independent audits confirm the advertised pay bands are accurate.
Striking workers had been stripped of their staff travel privileges for two years and will no longer receive bonus payments from 2016 or 2017. There’s no news yet on whether those affected will have their perks restored as part of the deal.
We’ve reached out to British Airways for comment but have not yet received a response.