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American Flight Attendants Say They Stand With British Airways Cabin Crew as Mass Redundancies Loom

American Flight Attendants Say They Stand With British Airways Cabin Crew as Mass Redundancies Loom

Has British Airways Reached a Deal with Mixed Fleet Cabin Crew? New Offer Now on the Table

Flight attendants at American Airlines say they stand with and support cabin crew at fellow Oneworld airline British Airways who are opposing mass redundancies and radical changes to terms and conditions proposed by the airline. “Blaming labor and extracting painful concessions has been a recurring theme,” said the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) in an update to members on Wednesday, as it shared details of what was being planned across the Pond.

“In response to the steep drop-off in worldwide demand, British Airways has announced an overage of Cabin Crew at the airline due to a drastic cut in flight schedules, not unlike many of its industry competitors,” the union explained.

“Instead of attempting to manage the overage through leaves and other programs, British Airways intends to terminate employment – not only for the furloughed Cabin Crew but for Crew that was to remain employed. The plan is to bust pay and work rules negotiated in their current Union contract,” the update continued.

British Airways says it has put forward proposals to lay-off as many as 12,000 employees but that its plans are subject to legal consultation and could change. A new proposed contract for long-serving cabin crew would see their salaries plummet by over 50 per cent in some cases, although BA says it must take difficult decision now in order to survive the Corona crisis.

But like BA’s own cabin crew union, along with a host of lawmakers and celebrities, APFA believes the plans aren’t just about survival. “British Airways is looking to use the industry downturn associated with COVID-19 to gut Cabin Crew pay and working conditions,” the union warns its members who will no doubt be nervously watching how this dispute plays out.

American Airlines has been offering a variety of unpaid leave options, along with early-out’s to reduce its wage bill as travel demand remains severely depressed. The airline is forbidden from furloughing or laying-off staff until October 1, as a condition of accepting $5.8 billion in federal bailout funds under the CARES Act.

The airline has not set out redundancy plans but rivals, including United, have publicly stated they expect redundancies to be inevitable.

“Today, airlines across the world are facing a demand problem, not a labor problem,” the memo declared. “APFA stands in full support with all British Airways Cabin Crew.”

Setting out its stall on how it might handle negotiations with American management in the Fall, it concluded: “We call on airline executives to do the right thing, and not use the current crisis as an opportunity to overreach in order to capitalize on permanent and painful pay, benefit and work rule reductions.”

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