A union representing hundreds of British Airways check-in staff at its Heathrow hub has lifted a threat of crippling strike action after the airline made a “vastly improved pay offer”.
Around 700 check-in staff and gate agents had voted overwhelmingly in favour of staging a strike in a dispute over the restoration of wages that had been slashed at the height of the pandemic.
Many of the workers had seen their pay reduced by 10 per cent and wanted to see their wages returned to pre-pandemic levels. British Airways initially only offered a one-off 10 per cent bonus despite offering managers a permanent pay increase.
The Unite union did not say how much BA was now offering but the offer will be put to a ballot of its members.
“We welcome that BA has finally listened to the voice of its check-in staff. Unite has repeatedly warned that pay disputes at BA were inevitable unless the company took our members’ legitimate grievances seriously,” commented Unite general secretary Sharon Graham.
“I pay tribute to, and stand with, our members who have fought hard to protect their pay,” Graham continued.
The offer may, however, cause increased tensions amongst other work groups including veteran cabin crew who took pay cuts of up to 30 per cent during the pandemic.
British Airways has refused to restore pre-pandemic wages and unions may trigger a so-called ‘me too’ clause to demand that all other workers benefits from the enhanced deal being offered to check-in staff.
The strike had threatened to cripple BA’s operations at its Heathrow hub and heap misery upon holidaymakers in time for the busy summer holidays. Despite positive news of a deal, BA announced it was cancelling a further 10,300 flights between now and October due to staff shortages.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.
Whoa. You’re not writing some piece spreading Covid paranoia? Well done!
Vastly improved would mean a living wage. If that’s what BA is offering, kudos to them; if not, it’s just more of their underhanded games. They’ve treated their loyal employees shamefully over the past several years so it seems unlikely that they’ve suddenly discovered just how important their people really are to the operation.