BA imposed a 10% pay cut on low-paid workers – and ‘reintroduced for managers only’

Hundreds of British Airways check-in workers at Heathrow Airport have voted to step down over pay – causing travel chaos for Brits planning to go abroad this summer

Sean Doyle, Chairman and CEO of British Airways
Sean Doyle, Chairman and CEO of British Airways, came under scrutiny

A summer of travel chaos looms as British Airways workers voted to strike amid a furious dispute over pay.

Check-in staff at Heathrow backed strikes after managers refused to reintroduce a 10% pay cut introduced during Covid, despite claims managers gaining their support.

The GMB said: “Holidaymakers are facing massive disruption thanks to British Airways’ stubbornness.”

The airline, run by Sean Doyle, the £848,000-a-year boss, said it was “disappointed”.

Fears of a summer of discontent have intensified after disgruntled British Airways employees were the latest to support industrial action.

Hundreds of check-in workers at Heathrow Airport voted by an overwhelming 95% to step down over pay – sparking the prospect of Bank Holiday chaos for millions of Brits.

And the dispute could escalate as 16,000 other BA workers threaten to go on strike. It comes after Britain was paralyzed by a second day of train strikes.

The BA series dates back to a 10% pay cut that all workers accepted at the start of the pandemic to cut costs.

Led by Sean Doyle, the £848,000-a-year boss, the firm has not reversed the cut, although it claims it has been reinstated for managers. BA used ‘Fire and Rehire’ to ax thousands of Covid jobs.

The employees of the BA are represented by the GMB and Unite. The GMB said: “All our members are demanding, and these are mainly low-paid women, that BA reinstate the 10% taken from them during the pandemic.”

Hundreds of check-in staff at Heathrow Airport voted by an overwhelming 95% to step down for pay


Bloomberg via Getty Images)

GMB national officer Nadine Houghton warned: “I could imagine there being action over the summer holidays.”

The union said dates for industrial action would be confirmed in the coming days. When asked if she would be booking a flight in late July, August or early September, Ms Houghton replied: “Not at this point.” She added: “With grim predictability, holidaymakers are facing massive disruption thanks to British Airways’ stubbornness. Our members must put back the 10% they stole from them last year with full back payment and the 10% bonus paid by other colleagues.

“GMB members at Heathrow have suffered unspeakable abuse as they deal with travel chaos caused by staff shortages and IT failures. At the same time, her pay was cut during BA’s callous dismissal and reinstatement policy.

“It’s not too late to save up for the summer holidays. Other BA staff have had their pay cuts reversed, as have ground and check-in staff, and this action can be nipped in the bud.”

Thousands of other BA employees are threatening to go on strike


SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Some employees were offered a different arrangement that included lump sum payments equal to the cut, but that meant their pay didn’t rise again on a permanent basis.

The GMB also pointed out that apart from manager pay returning to pre-pandemic levels this year, BA parent company IAG chief executive Luis Gallego expects a £4.9million payout if he hits the targets reached.

Unite said there was a “short window” for the airline to reinstate the 10% pay cut.

The union’s national aviation officer, Oliver Richardson, added: “The problems British Airways is facing are entirely homegrown. It has brutally slashed jobs and wages during the pandemic.”

BRITISH Airways used to boast of being the world’s favorite airline.

Now it is risking its reputation as the world’s worst employer.

The pandemic was a terrible time for the airline industry.

However, British Airways did not view Covid as a crisis but rather as an opportunity: an opportunity to lay off thousands of staff and hire those on worse wages and conditions.

While the rest of the country rallied together, applauding caregivers and helping its neighbors, BA bosses only cared about themselves.

They have also been doing this since travel restrictions were lifted.

Pay cuts imposed on all employees during the pandemic have only ended for managers, not workers.

Faced with such a blatant injustice, unions have turned to the only bargaining tool that could force BA to change its mind: strikes. After the recent chaos at UK airports, passengers will not want any more disruption.

If they want to vent their anger, they should do so with airline management and the government.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps must stop being an airplane spotter at the border fence and start trying to negotiate a deal. As long as he sits on the sidelines, managers will think they have his blessing to go to war with the unions.

BA said: “We are very disappointed with the vote and that unions have chosen this course of action. Despite the challenging environment and losses in excess of £4bn, we made an offer of a 10% payment which was accepted by the majority of other colleagues.

“We are determined to find a solution together because to deliver for our customers and rebuild our business we need to work as a team.

“We will keep our customers informed as the situation develops.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has been accused of doing nothing to end the BA dispute, just as he has been blasted for his inaction over the centenary bank holiday airport chaos. The threat of strikes comes amid wider unrest among workers in both the private and public sectors, with teachers, traffic cops, BT and postal workers all demanding wage increases.

Boris Johnson has hunched over public wages again despite inflation at a 40-year high of 9.1% – calls for higher wages will push them higher still.

But he came under further pressure to improve deals after a spate of wage deals elsewhere.

RMT Chief Mick Lynch on the picket line at Euston station



Gary Lineker graces the picket lines in Manchester and poses for photos with striking railway workers

Merseyrail agreed a 7.1% pay rise with union TSSA, workers on London’s Docklands Light Railway were offered 9% and Eurostar staff 8%. Only one in five trains across the country ran yesterday and travelers are gearing up for more travel misery on Saturday with a third strike.

Negotiations are scheduled to continue today. RMT general secretary Mick Lynch warned the union to “continue its labor campaign until a negotiated settlement is reached”.

BBC football pundit Gary Lineker joined a picket line in Manchester.

No10 yesterday announced controversial plans to change the law to allow firms to hire skilled agency workers to fill gaps during strikes.

But Neil Carberry, chief executive of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, said it was done without consulting agencies.

He added: “This is not what the authorities want and will not achieve the goals claimed by the government.”

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