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Unions Threaten Strikes Over BA’s Secret Plot To Cut Cabin Crew Pay

Posted in British Airways, Cabin Crew NewsNo comments

Staff at British Airways could take industrial action after it emerged that the company is planning to cut cabin crew salaries.

The airline aims to replace existing agreements and bring in performance-related pay.

Details of the shake-up – codenamed ‘Project Columbus’ by BA – are set out in a confidential internal document leaked to the union by ‘a concerned manager’ and obtained by the Daily Mail.

BA said last night that the plans were part of a ‘root and branch’ shake-up to be unveiled officially in the New Year.

The British Airlines Stewards and Stewardesses Association – part of the giant union Unite – has urged its members to ‘resist’ the plans.

The three-page BA ‘Project Columbus’ memo states: ‘Cabin crew costs at LHR (London Heathrow) are uncompetitive when compared against our main airline competitors.’

The paper said that ‘complex and restrictive cabin crew agreements’ are creating ‘a barrier to change’ and ‘hamper efficiency’.

It went on to say it will not force existing BA staff to switch to new contracts and agreements. But new staff will be put automatically on to the new terms and conditions.

The union says that means existing staff will be left to ‘wither on the vine’.

BA’s aim is to ‘remove the complexity and inefficiency of current LHR cabin crew agreements’ and attract staff ‘at competitive cost’.

BA also intends to change the airline’s culture by making it more skills and merit based ‘enabled through performance-related pay and merit-based promotion’.

The plan has infuriated BASSA. In its Christmas update to staff the union said the ‘Columbus’ plan –drawn up in secrecy at BA’s Waterside headquarters at Heathrow –should be opposed: ‘BASSA, backed by Unite, is still the strongest union in the country and we will not sit back and surrender our members’ – and indeed our own – futures.’

The union claims senior managers have been plotting for a year to ‘remove’ reps identified ‘as likely leaders or mainstays in any stand against BA’s future business plans’.

A BA spokesman said last night that this is the worst trading environment the industry has faced. ‘We have to offset these challenges and identify areas across the company where we can reduce costs.’

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