British Airways crew have planned a two day strike to take place on Tuesday and Wednesday, which may disrupt flights and services at Heathrow. BA has ensured that most flights from Heathrow, Gatwick and London City airports, will not be disrupted.
Around 2,900 members of the Unite trade union have initiated their two-day strike in aim to increase pay for members of the “mixed fleet,” who have been recruited by BA since 2011 and paid what the union calls “poverty wages.”
Unite has complained that the airline has been advertising that the mixed fleet staff are being paid between £21,000 and £25,000 per year, when in fact they have much lower earnings. Unite has said that they typically get paid starting at just over £12,000, plus £3 an hour in order to cover necessary expenses such as food.
Despite the two-day strike, BA announced that most flights from Heathrow – and those from Gatwick and London City airports- will not be affected.
Oliver Richardson, a spokesman for Unite, said: “The ‘mixed fleet’ cabin crew are at breaking point over pay levels which are forcing many of them to take a second job or turn up to work unfit to fly.
“With the parent company of British Airways forecasting annual profits in the region of £2.3bn, it’s clear that the UK’s national carrier can pay the people who keep us safe while we fly a decent wage.”
There has been communication between the airline and Unite behind the scenes, however no deals have been offered that were strong enough to halt the strike.
A couple of weeks before the strike began, around Christmas, BA had made a last-minute offer to the union, offering a 2% raise in the first year and 2.5% in years two and three. However, the offer was rejected by a vote of 7-1 among Unite members.
Unite had said that this offer would have left staff with only £20 a month after tax.
The union has said that if they see no change after the two-day strike, it will call for further strikes or other forms of industrial action.