Peace Breaks Out

By | Category: Travel news

The announcement by British Airways and Unite today that they had reached agreement about their long running dispute will please all travellers. One hurdle remains. The union members have to vote in favour of it in a secret ballot. The results of that won’t be announced till June so there is still a chance that the members, who always voted high numbers in favour of strike action, may not be as accommodating as the union. Let’s hope that’s not the case and that all travellers can look forward to a quiet, strike free summer.
With the ending of the long strike at Air India and the news that Qantas has settled a strike issue as well does this augur well for the summer? With luck there will only be the usual delays due to normal peak flights. One day they might disappear as well.
That the dispute at British Airways has probably ended may be down to weariness on both sides. Almost as long as CD-Traveller has been around there has seemed to be this dispute. Do many remember what it was about? Originally it was about costs. No-frills airlines have much lower cost bases, not that many would say that BA competes with them on many routes. But newer Middle Eastern and Far Eastern airlines also have lower cost bases and, if BA is to compete against them, then they do need to be more competitive. Look at the profits that Emirates announced this week, $1.6 billion. One issue that BA decided upon was to alter the working practices of its cabin crew. Then as the dispute escalated, BA management withdrew some travel privileges.
It seems only when management changed at both the union, Unite, and BA that a different mentality appeared. The new names managed to agree on things and the union has recommended acceptance to its members. Union members will get their travel privileges returned and BA seems to have got its cuts. You might be forgiven for thinking who has lost out. BA has taken a £150 million loss on the strike and members have lost wage But what of passengers about whom nothing has been said? They had to endure delays, cancellations and put up with the inconvenience of never quite knowing over a long 18 month period whether it was safe to book with BA.
How many of us will have deserted BA for ever won’t be known for a while. For both the sake of jobs and the company, BA staff and board will be hoping it isn’t many. As they know its passengers that keep the jobs and the airline going.

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