British Airways says its full schedule will operate on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, despite a strike by cabin crew working for its “mixed fleet” unit at Heathrow.
BA’s chief executive, Alex Cruz, called the strike an “attempt to ruin Christmas for thousands of our customers”.
He said: “Over the weekend we have been working on detailed contingency plans to ensure that we are able to operate our normal flight programme from all our airports on both Christmas Day and Boxing Day.”
The BA staff, who joined mixed fleet from 2010 onwards are in dispute over what they call “poverty pay”. Their pay and conditions are significantly worse than longer-serving cabin crew. Their union, Unite, says that cabin crew are forced to work even when unfit to fly, in order to earn a flying allowance of £3 per hour.
Mr Cruz described the pay in mixed fleet as “competitive”. The airline published figures indicating that full-time staff earn between £21,000 and £27,000 a year.
“We are seeking to improve this package and we encourage Unite to start a positive dialogue with us about our proposals,” said Mr Cruz.
Ahead of talks at the conciliation Acas, Unite’s general secretary, Len McCluskey, said: “I am delighted that British Airways has heeded our calls for talks. It is only by getting round the table that we can find a solution to my members’ concerns.
“Given the huge profits BA’s parent company [IAG] made last year, the Mixed Fleet’s calls for a living wage and for equal treatment at work and in their pay packets must be heard.”
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