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We Love Our Jobs But British Airways Needs To Know We Won't Give Up Our Fight For A Better Deal

21/07/2017 07:58
PA Wire/PA Images

British Airways' mixed fleet cabin crew have been involved in a long running dispute over pay and the sanctioning of crew who have taken strike action. So far they have taken 45 days of strike action and this week announced further stoppages meaning they will be on strike until Tuesday 15 August.

Here one member of mixed fleet cabin crew explains why they are on strike.

I've been a member of British Airways mixed fleet cabin crew for over three and a half years now. This is more than a job for me, it is a vocation, a job myself and my colleagues do because we truly love our job and serving our customers. On board I'm a first aider, fire fighter, problem solver, waiter, counsellor, security guard and most of all a human being.

In the three and half years since I joined British Airways I've had no pay rise and earned nowhere near the advertised £21 - £25,000. The average wage, after flight allowances and 'incentive' bonuses, for me and my colleagues is more in the region of £16,000 with new starters taking home a basic salary of just over £12,000.

While life on mixed fleet certainly does come with an essence of glamour, for the most part it's continuously panicking over my uncertain salary and worrying as to whether I'm going to afford to pay my bills.

Each month the rent is a worry and often at the end of the month I have to use my credit card to buy essentials and food. I know colleagues who have had to visit a food bank, because they simply don't earn enough and have maxed out their credit cards.

Going on strike is never easy and you may be asking yourself why don't you get another job that pays better? But that kind of misses the point. I take great pride in working for our national flag carrier doing a job I love. Nothing will improve if my colleagues and I don't stand up for decent pay and against the bullying behaviour of British Airways.

New joiners will continue to be sold a false promise of a decent wage only to find the reality is poverty pay. The 30 per cent yearly churn of mixed fleet cabin crew leaving the airline will get worse along with customer service.

The 'corporate bullying' by British Airways, which sees bosses punishing us for taking lawful industrial action and robbing us of bonuses worth hundreds of pounds will continue too. Unless that it is, I, along with my colleagues, continue to take a stand.

So, I would urge passengers to try and see the bigger picture. My colleagues and I aren't greedy, we just want to be able to provide the best and safest service we can and be paid a liveable wage for doing that.

British Airways makes billions in profit and what mixed fleet cabin crew are asking for - a decent wage, to be treated with respect and an end to the sanctioning of striking crew - will barely make a dent in these profits.

Instead of listening to us, British Airways seems to prefer to defend low pay and inequality by spending millions on hiring aircraft from other airlines and trying to bribe us with pathetic bungs to stop us going on strike.

But as ever, British Airways' heavy-handedness is backfiring. There is a renewed determination and solidarity among my colleagues and I, buoyed by the support we have received form the public and politicians.

We know too that cabin crew, who are being used to cover us while we are striking, are close to going over the legal number of flying hours they are safely allowed to do.

British Airways should beware. I won't give in and will continue to fight along with my colleagues for better deal to do the job I love and to truly 'fly to serve.'

The author's name has been withheld to protect privacy

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