BRITISH AIRWAYS was forced to cancel around 40 flights from Heathrow yesterday as cabin crew launched a 48-hour strike over “poverty pay.”
Mixed fleet cabin crew who have joined the airline since 2010 and make up 15 per cent of BA’s stewards have a basic starting salary of £12,192 — a much inferior salary to cabin staff who were recruited in previous years.
Unite members mounted picket lines at Heathrow airport with the strike “solidly supported” including from passing motorists, according to a union spokesman. Planned strike action before Christmas was suspended following talks with BA.
Unite national officer Oliver Richardson said: “Going on strike is never an easy decision, so we are pleased with those who have taken the courageous step to take a stand against poverty pay at British Airways.
“This is a low-paid workforce struggling to make ends meet on wages which are among the lowest in the airline industry.
“It is to the shame of British Airways, a company which prides itself as a ‘premium brand,’ that members of its loyal workforce are forced to take second jobs to make ends meet or turn up to work unfit to fly because they can’t afford to take the day off sick.”
He warned that refusal to address the concerns would “poison industrial relations” and see morale plummet.
A BA spokesman said: “Our proposal for our mixed fleet cabin crew reflects pay awards given by other companies in the UK and will ensure their reward levels remain in line with cabin crew at our airline competitors.”
The cabin crew will also hand in a letter to Marks and Spencer at its HQ today calling on the retailer to demand BA stops paying poverty wages to sell M&S food on board flights.
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