British Airways (BA) has recently offered to restore some of the basic travel concessions previously removed from cabin crew following their strike action earlier this year. They hope the olive branch will put an end to the long running and very costly dispute that is ongoing between the cabin crew and their employers.
There are certain conditions however, and it is still unclear as to who will receive the perks and when.
It is believed that staff who took part in industrial action must now complete three years service showing good behaviour before their priority for perks is restored, and in the meantime they must go to the back of the queue for discounted and free flights.
The offer is also conditional on the cabin crew’s union UNITE, dropping their threat of court action against BA for removing the perks in the first place. UNITE are taking legal action in what they describe as a ‘breach of European human rights’ against their members.
UNITE have agreed to put BA’s offer to a ballot of cabin crew members as they appreciate that it is probably the best way forward in bringing both parties together and drawing the proceedings to a close.
Peter Harwood, chief conciliator at ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) who work to promote better working relationships between employees and employers, stated “Both parties approached the talks constructively and new proposals have been tabled. We are hopeful that these will produce a positive outcome in the member’s ballot which will lead to a settlement of this long running dispute.”
BA cabin crew have staged 22 days of strikes already this year at a cost of approximately £150 million to the airline. Whilst the original dispute centred on working conditions, pay and staffing levels, the decision to remove travel concessions and the disciplinary measures shown to those staff that went on strike, soon became a major bone of contention.
If the deal is accepted then it could finally see an end to the year long dispute, however if the members refuse to agree to the terms then a fresh ballot for further industrial action will be proposed, which could lead to serious travel disruptions over the Christmas period.