BA to hire cut-price crew to beat strike

City A.M. Reporter
BRITISH Airways (BA) said yesterday it planned to recruit over one thousand new cabin crew on lower wages than current staff as it faces possible further strikes by existing flight attendants in August.

The Unite union, which represents 90 per cent of BA’s 12,000 cabin staff, criticised the move which would do nothing to end a bitter dispute which has resulted in a series of walkouts.

BA will recruit 1,250 new crew members this year and forecast that in 10 years, staff on the new terms will make up 40 per cent of cabin staff.

The airline said it was making the move in light of the losses it has posted over the past two years.

“We have suffered back-to-back record financial losses and need to continue making permanent changes to our cost base to ensure our long-term survival,” BA said.

Existing cabin crew on short-haul flights from Heathrow earn an annual salary of £25,700 while crew on long-haul flights from Heathrow earn £35,000 on average. Those on short-haul routes out of Gatwick earn £18,300.

The new crew would earn an average wage in line with BA’s Gatwick flight attendants.

The British airline faces a third wave of industrial action, disrupting the peak holiday season, after Unite said yesterday it would hold a fresh ballot of its cabin crew members.

Crews have walked out for 22 days so far this year, costing the airline around £150m. Union Unite said the ballot would run from 29 June to 27 July, so walkouts could begin on 3 August if voted for.