Mon, Jan 15, 2007
Say Airline Forced Them To Work When Sick
With an almost
unprecedented majority for such a dispute, 96% of British Airways'
(BA) cabin crews voted to strike earlier today citing disputes over
sick pay and pensions.
Jack Dromey, deputy director of the UK's Trade and General
Workers Union, the body representing the airline's cabin crews,
told Bloomberg, "BA cabin crew have voted to say the airline has
gone too far."
The union says workers feel the airline is taking them for
granted and managing by imposition rather than agreement. Further,
it says the relationship between management and labor has broken
A meeting is set for tomorrow between the two sides to discuss
the company's policies on sick leave, pay, staffing and
The dispute over the airline's pension plan is ongoing. Earlier
this month the airline reached accord with negotiators representing
its four unions to shore up a $4.1 billion deficit in its pension
fund with a one-time contribution of nearly $1.5 billion, and
annual payments of $550 million. Part of the money for the
annual payments will come from reductions in other benefits.
Although union negotiators have agreed in principal to the changes,
union members must still ratify them via a vote. Some see this
latest threat to strike as a further bargaining chip for the unions
to force the company into further concessions.
An airline spokesman told Bloomberg, "We are very disappointed
by the T&G threat of what would be completely unnecessary
industrial action. We very much hope they will enter into
meaningful discussion with us on the issues the union has
The British carrier denies union claims of forcing employees to
work while sick. It says it has not been trying to achieve new ways
of working by imposition, but by negotiation. It accuses the unions
of needlessly worrying customers and staff.
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