British Airways is offering new contracts to its staff, which for many will see their pay cut by up to 55%, and basic pay at £24,000, well below the average pay for U.K. workers.
While the offer of commission on onboard sales and performance is available, the overall arc is that BA, as usual, is about to engage in warfare with its staff and unions to get its way, at a time when it basically has nothing to loose.
Unions have little they can do to damage the airline which is already effectively grounded.
The main issue that BA has tried to get rid of for years, is any differentiation between long haul and short haul staff. There are still a number of long haul only staff and a bank of “mixed fleet” who are contracted to do both. The airlines aim has always been to break this old-school approach and get “Mixed Fleet” staff only across the fleet.
The problem for customers is that these mixed fleet staff are considered less professional, less experienced and less able to deliver the service quality long haul Premium, Business and First Class passengers expect.
And that’s not a denigration, it’s fact. First and business class customers pay good money and they expect more, much more. Expecting someone to fly First Class service one day and the Marbella bucket and spade run the next, might be flexible, but it’s not consistent, and it’s not reasonable for the same basic pay.
British Airways had just reached a point in late 2019 when it had finally overcome the accountancy run service reductions and staff problems it created for itself. It had just started to really win back customers and their appreciation and confidence. But profits matter more, and its back to the old ways it seems.
BA won’t care because it will still be able to make money – reduced services will be expensive and profitable, competition reduced, and demand high relative to availability.