In the last few days, both Norwegian and British Airways have joined the list of European airlines who have managed to strike important pay deals with their flying crew’s – drastically reducing the risk of staff walk outs at both carriers and especially at British Airways.
The most important deal, at least from the point of view of passengers, is probably the settlement hammered out between British Airways and it’s cabin crew union who represent staff employed under the ‘Mixed Fleet’ contract. The bitter dispute between staff and management has seen cabin crew take part in 85 days of strike action in less than a year.
We recently reported on a potential deal between the two sides after weeks of secret talks to finally bring the dispute to an end. Yesterday, the Unite union revealed that 84% of cabin crew who voted had backed the settlement.
The union claims the deal will see cabin crew enjoying pay increases of between £1,404 to £2,908 per year – dependent on seniority and role. The airline has also agreed to increase wages in line with inflation.
What’s likely to have driven the positive vote, however, is a promise from British Airways to backdate the pay award and return generous travel concessions to members of cabin crew who took part in the strike action. All cabin crew at the airline will also now be considered for performance-related bonuses.
“Through thick and, thin Unite members stuck together to secure a decent pay rise and a just resolution to this long-running dispute,” commented Len McCluskey, the union’s General Secretary.
He continued: “Not only does this pay deal start to seriously address long-standing concerns on low pay in British Airways’ mixed fleet, but it also shows that it pays to be a member of a union and of Unite.”
The union said it would continue to work with British Airways and would help the airline go from “strength to strength.”
Meanwhile, Norwegian today announced it had agreed to a three-year pay deal with the Norwegian Pilot Union through a collective bargaining agreement. The terms of the deal effect around 1,000 of the airline’s pilots in Scandinavia. Agreements with pilots at other bases throughout Europe are said to be close.
Lars Rønnov, the head of Norwegian’s pilot services said he was “very pleased” the two sides had agreed on the framework for a collective agreement. He said the deal would provide Norwegian with “predictability” as the airline rapidly expands.
Rønnov described the talks as having been characterised by “mutual trust and respect, and not least a clear common goal of building Norwegian further.”
In the last few months a number of major airlines in Europe have managed to reach pay deals with staff and unions – sometimes after years of disagreement. Those airlines include Lufthansa, Eurowings and Air France.
Meanwhile, low-cost carrier Ryanair continues to battle with pilots at some of its bases – they are demanding further improvements in pay and conditoons after recent media attention shone a spotlight on working conditions at the airline.