29/03/2010

Union Attacks BA Pilots

Unite, the union representing disgruntled British Airways cabin crew, has claimed the airline's pilots are now earning an additional £166 per hour.

Unite said the pay changes makes them the world's most expensive on board staff.

The union claimed BA has gone to "enormous lengths to divert hundreds of pilots from their everyday jobs" to work as crew - but with the guarantee that they will still be paid in line with their £120,000 salaries.

In contrast, in a normal working day a BA cabin crew member with five year's experience would earn only £15,000 or £16 per hour.

Union members today entered the third day of their four day walkout. It is the second stage industrial strike within a week.

Unite said understands that temporary crew brought back for the dispute and working alongside the big earning pilots are being paid only £11,000 - the very bottom of the BA pay scale - during the dispute.

All strike-breaking crew will also receive £100 each way for their journey as an incentive to come to work.

A BA spokesman said Unite was "being disingenuous because only pilots at the very top earn that sort of money. What's more, it's not just pilots who are volunteering to work as cabin crew, but ground staff and people from other operations."

Len McLuskey, Unite assistant general secretary, said: "Far from cutting cabin crew costs, BA is now operating the world's most expensive crew in a bid to break its far cheaper, world-class workforce.

"Dividing your workforce like this is madness. It should be parked in the hangar before it does needless and long-term damage to the good working relations between pilots and crew that are critical in aviation.

"Strike breakers - whether they are pilots or other BA colleagues - acting as cabin crew are misguided."

On Sunday Unite released figures showing that 50% of rostered crew were on strike. The union estimates that on a normal working day 2100 crew are rostered to work.

By yesterday afternoon, only 359 crew had reported for duty. This includes 100 International Cabin Crew, who are not on strike. That left BA with 259 crew at work.

A further 331 declared themselves to be on strike and 21 were sick.

"Our operations have been strong and the number of crew reporting for duty means we are flying our expected contingency schedule," said the airline's chief executive, Willie Walsh, yesterday.

(PR/GK)

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