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BA set for Christmas strike 14, December 2009

Posted by thegulfblog.com in UK.
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British Airways – ‘the world’s favourite airline’ – will, according to reports, vote in favour of a Christmas strike perhaps starting on the 21st December. They have a monumental hole in their pension pot as well as making an estimated £600 million loss this year and BA’s management have been seeking ways to cut costs. One of these has been through charging to reserve seats in advance and another has been reducing staffing costs. Indeed, the latter does not seem so unreasonable given that BA’s cabin crew earn almost twice as much as some of their rivals.

I really have no idea as to what BA needs to do. All I do unequivocally know is that having a strike at Christmas, with people flying home to their relatives, will erode BA’s name and customer base yet further and earn them vitriol and hate. They must not do this. If the London tube drivers want to strike (though I think it’s reprehensible given their pay) then but so be it: people will always have to take the tube. Need it be said that the same is utterly untrue for BA? With Emirates, Ethiad and Qatar airways buying billions and billions of dollars worth of new, beautifully comfortable planes and offering discounted ticket prices compared to BA’s overpriced tickets for old planes, (not to mention healthy European competition) striking would be, as far as I see it, more or less suicide.

I very much hope that I am reading this situation wrongly. For as average as BA are these days I nevertheless think it’s exceedingly important for Britain to retain a viable flagship carrier.

Update: Cabin crew have voted for a strike – 12 days (22nd December – 2nd January) affecting nearly 1 million passengers costing BA anywhere up to £80 million. Utter suicide.

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