British Airways pledges to fly all customers to their destinations despite fresh two-week strike set for peak summer travel period

 
Rebecca Smith
London City will be unaffected by the strike action
London City will be unaffected by the strike action (Source: Getty)

British Airways has dug its heels in over ongoing strike action by members of its cabin crew, pledging that all customers "will be able to fly to their destinations", despite a new set of walkouts being declared.

Earlier this week Unite union announced members of British Airways cabin crew will be striking for another two weeks this summer, into peak travel time for families, as a bitter pay dispute continues.

Read more: British Airways cabin crew announce another 14 days of summer strikes

Here's what we know about the dispute and who's affected so far...

Hold up, I thought cabin crew members were already striking?

You'd be right. The members of the mixed fleet cabin crew are already in the midst of a 16-day walkout that started on Saturday 1 July, and the fresh batch announced this week, starting on Wednesday 19 July, will now stretch the industrial action up until 1 August.

So which airports and flights could be affected?

BA has again confirmed that all flights to and from London Gatwick, London City and Stansted will operate as normal. Similarly, its weekend only Mediterranean services to and from Birmingham, Bristol and Manchester, will too.

The "vast majority" of flights to and from London Heathrow will continue to operate as normal too. For the current action, BA merged a small number of flights, but said it has been able to run 99.5 per cent of its normal schedule, so will be aiming for a similar record for the second set of strikes.

How did BA get around the strike action then?

It has a wet-leasing deal for nine aircraft and crew from Qatar Airways as part of its contingency plans to try and ensure disruption was minimised. It's likely the airline will look to secure a similar arrangement for the next strikes.

There have been some cancellations and passengers on affected flights offered different options such as a refund or rebooking onto a different service.

Hasn't this been going on a while? Is it still the same dispute?

It's a pretty long-running row originally starting over pay. Unite has deemed it "poverty pay", saying the mixed fleet crew, who operate a range of long and short-haul flights, are employed on less favourable terms than longer-serving workers. BA has disputed the figures Unite has provided, and has urged the union to let members vote on a pay deal they had previously agreed.

The row has worsened after the union said crew taking part in industrial action have been sanctioned, so bonus payments and travel concessions were taken away. It's pursuing legal action on behalf of 1,400 cabin crew members alongside the strike action about this.

Legal action too?

Yep. And as well as that, Unite has announced it's launching legal action over the go-ahead for BA to wet lease nine aircraft and crew from Qatar Airways for the current strike action. The union argues that the airline is trying to break the strike by circumventing European regulations which prevent wet lease arrangements with non-EU carriers in all but exceptional circumstances.

What have the two sides said about it?

A BA spokesperson said of the newest action, that Unite "should allow its members a vote on the pay deal we reached two months ago".

It seems extraordinary that a trade union should ask its members to give up their pay and benefits for virtually the whole of July, trying to target the holidays of hard-working families, rather than give those members a chance to settle the central issue of the dispute.

Unite national officer Oliver Richardson said the action underlined the determination of members "in their fight for better pay and against British Airways’ bullying behaviour".

We are seeing strong support for the ongoing strike action. The time and money British Airways is spending on wet leasing aircraft and bullying striking cabin crew are resources which could easily settle this dispute.

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