A few days ago I wrote about British Airways “Mixed Fleet” flight attendants calling for a strike through a vote. At the time, the Unite union, which represents over 4,500 flight attendants, said that the strike will happen after December 21, 2016. It appears they have now set dates for the strike. According to The Independent, the union has informed British Airways that they have called for a strike on December 25 and 26, 2016 (Christmas Day and Boxing Day).
British Airways has released a statement confirming the strike; from BBC:
We have been informed tonight by Unite that it has called strike action by mixed fleet cabin crew on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. We are appalled that Unite proposes to disrupt customers’ travel plans on such special days when so many families are trying to gather together or set off on well-deserved holidays. This calculated and heartless action is completely unnecessary and we are determined that it will fail. We will plan to ensure all our customers travel to their destinations so that their Christmas arrangements are not ruined. We will publish more details within the next 72 hours. Meanwhile, we have also approached the conciliation service Acas to seek their assistance in reaching an outcome that would avoid any possibility of disruption.
Unite the union has accused British Airways of providing “poverty pay,” and said that some flight attendants had to sleep in cars between flights, because they couldn’t even pay for gas to go home. These “mixed fleet” flight attendants joined British Airways after 2010, and have lower pay than legacy crew members. They reportedly get a starting salary of just £12,000 (~US$15,250) and £3 (~US$3.8) per hour of flying time.
This strike will happen immediately following a scheduled walk-out from workers at Swissport. Over 1,500 baggage handlers, check-in crew, and ground staff, also represented by Unite, will go on strike on December 23 and 24, 2016. These are traditionally two of the busiest travel days leading up to Christmas, and some disruptions will likely result. Swissport is involved in ground handling in 18 airports, including London-Gatwick; London-Heathrow will not be affected by the Swissport strike.
If you are flying through the UK this holiday season, you might want to check your flight status a bit more vigilantly than you otherwise would!