Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/935/24394
BA strike: "We're being paid well below what we should be"
Chris Newby, London Socialist Party
Despite increased intimidation from British Airways (BA) management, cabin crew are standing firm in their fight for a living wage. Many are coming straight off flights onto the picket line. Striking workers are being left with no choice but to take action because of their poor wages.
One worker reported they were in overdraft within six days of getting their wages.
BA management claim that the strike is having a limited effect, saying that most staff are turning up. But reports from BA workers say that the staff car parks and staff buses are empty.
Also, if the strike is having a limited effect why are BA management increasing sanctions on strikers by threatening to dock two years of bonuses and removing all staff travel discounts for the next year from anyone joining the strike action? Unite the Union estimates the sanctions will cost strikers an average of £850 each.
Showing their priorities are to try to break the union rather than pay their staff a living wage, BA management are spending millions of pounds renting out planes and crew from other companies to try to cover for services affected by the strike.
Rather than BA being the benchmark for pay and conditions in the airline industry, it is now paying some of the lowest wages. As another sign that BA is aiming to model itself on the low cost airlines, they have now replaced free in-flight meals with Marks and Spencer (M&S) food for sale. BA is paying its mixed fleet cabin crew far less than M&S staff selling the same food in stores.
The Socialist Party fully supports these workers in their strike and will do all that we can to build support for their campaign to win a genuine living wage.
A cabin crew worker spoke to the Socialist:
"We're on strike because we feel we're being paid well below what we should be paid. We're being told we're being paid between £21,000 and £27,000. I personally have never reached £21,000.
"They say it's because of bonuses and all kinds of things but we can never achieve the full bonus because they make it so difficult and I can tell you my P60s for the last two years have been for £15,500 and £17,500.
"I think the strike's going well. This is new for a lot of us, we've not been through anything like this before.
"We'd love to see this resolved but the company are going to have to be more realistic and the company are not offering a liveable wage in London which is where they want us to live. The deal that Virgin cabin crew won has definitely given us a boost."
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