General News

British Airways striking cabin crew bring their protest to Brighton’s i360

Besi Besemar March 5, 2017

Striking cabin crew took their low pay battle to the British Airways sponsored i360 on Saturday, March 4.

Photo: Hugo Michiels
Photo: Hugo Michiels

Striking members of Unite union working as cabin crew for British Airways brought their battle against low pay to Brighton on Saturday morning, March 4 to protest in front of the British Airways sponsored i360 attraction on the town’s sea front.

The protest, at the worlds’ tallest moving observation tower, was on the second day of a seven strike which started on Friday, March 3.

The latest round of strikes involving mixed fleet cabin crew working long and short-haul flights out of Heathrow takes the total number of strike days during the dispute to 26.

It comes as British Airways it is claimed, continue to threaten and bully mixed fleet cabin crew with consequences if they exercise their right to strike.

The latest threats include stripping striking cabin of their bonus for 2016 and 2017 in addition to removal of the ‘my incentive’ payment for the whole of 2017 and staff travel for 2 years.

Over the course of the dispute strike action has led to the cancellation of flights and the airline chartering, or ‘wet leasing’, aircraft from other airlines such as Titan Airways, Vueling and Thomson Airways to cover striking cabin crew.

In a show of solidarity Unite members have come together to create a food bank to support low paid mixed fleet cabin crew.

Unite national officer Oliver Richardson, said: “Menacing low paid mixed fleet cabin crew for exercising their right to strike is a shameful way for British Airways to behave.

“Despite the bullying behaviour, Unite members continue to show great resolve in their fight against low pay. Yesterday they took their message to the British Airways sponsored i360 attraction on Brighton’s sea front where they urged the public and customers of the i360 to offer their support and stand with British Airways’ mixed fleet cabin crew and say ‘BA low pay no way.”

Since 2010 all British Airways new cabin crew employees had joined what is called mixed fleet, where despite promises that pay would be 10 per cent above the market rate, basic pay starts at just £12,192 with £3 an hour flying pay.

Unite Union estimates that on average mixed fleet cabin crew earn £16,000, including allowances, a year.

Since opening in August, 2016,  the British Airways i360, the world’s first vertical cable car, conceived and designed by Marks Barfield Architects, creators of the London Eye has been dogged with technical issues causing the attraction to close for days at a time.