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BA poverty pay dispute enters new phase of action
Rob Williams, Socialist Party industrial organiser
On their 74th day of strike action, a bus-full of British Airways (BA) mixed-fleet cabin crew organised by general union Unite, and their supporters, circled first Heathrow Airport and then the streets of Richmond.
Noisily filling the top deck of an open-top bus with banners and flags in hand, they set about making everyone aware of their incredible struggle against poverty pay.
Many of them are on a miserly basic salary of £12,000. They have maintained their fight despite BA attacking their bonus payments and travel concessions which are necessities because of their low-paid contracts. The firm has even hired Qatari Airways to scab. Yet the workers have shown tremendous courage in fighting on.
Their present action, which has continued through August, ends at the end of the month. BA has contacted the union promising talks but the workers are determined to continue to fight if negotiations come to nothing.
One worker told the Socialist: "The 'topless' (open-top) bus ride was brilliant and made loads of people aware of the strike and what we're on strike for, including hundreds of passengers at the airport at one of the busiest times of year.
"We're being paid well below what we should be paid. British Airways say we're being paid between £21,000 and £27,000. But most of us have never been paid £21,000, some of us are only on £12,000 a year."
- Donate to the hardship fund at account name 'Mixed Fleet Branch', sort code 60-83-01, account number 20376387, reference 'MFU'
- Or make cheques out to 'Mixed Fleet Branch' and post with messages of support to Unite the Union, 99 New Road, Harlington UB3 5BQ
- Send messages of protest to BA CEO Alex Cruz: email@example.com