LONDON:British Airways says all customers will be able to fly to their destinations on Tuesday 10 January and Wednesday 11 January, despite proposed industrial action by Unite union cabin crew. The airline says all flights to and from London Gatwick and London City airports will operate normally. The majority of flights to and from London Heathrow will operate as normal. But BA said it would be merging a “very small number” of flights to and from Heathrow. That means some customers will travel slightly earlier or later. The airline said in a statement that customers affected were being contacted with the options available for them. The dispute concerns about 4,000 staff – some 15% of BA’s cabin crew – who have joined the airline since 2010 on “mixed fleet” contracts and who do not feel they are paid enough. About 2,900 of them are Unite members. Earnings were advertised between £21,000 and £25,000, but the Unite union says that in reality, they start at just over £12,000 – plus £3 an hour flying pay.
BA cabin crew will start selling food from Marks and Spencer from next week as the airline introduces pay-as-you-go meals on its short-haul flights. The Unite union said M&S store staff who sell this same food would be earning over £6,000 per year more on a full-time basis than the basic starting salary of a member of BA’s “mixed fleet” cabin crew. BA disputes these figures, and insists that full-time mixed fleet cabin crew do, in reality, earn above £21,000. The strike reflects cabin crew’s rejection of a new pay offer of 2% in the first year and 2.5% in years two and three – a rise that the union said would leave staff £20 a month better off after tax. An earlier strike, planned for Christmas, was suspended after that offer was made, but members rejected it by 7-1.