SOLIDARITY SATURDAY! – for BA strikers

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Striking BA mixed fleet cabin crew on the picket line at Heathrow Airport yesterday morning
Striking BA mixed fleet cabin crew on the picket line at Heathrow Airport yesterday morning

TODAY is ‘Solidarity Saturday’ when striking British Airways Mixed Fleet cabin crew are being visited by trade unionists and supporters from different trade unions at their strike base at Bedfont Football Club on the perimeter of Heathrow Airport.

Yesterday, they began another session of action during which they are striking for eight of the next nine days. Unite rep Charly Bacon told News Line: ‘I was on LBC Radio this morning and told them that BA is coming up with unfactual and inaccurate figures concerning our salaries.

‘In reality we are receiving less than half of what they claim. We are a group of several thousand, very hard working, low-paid workers and it is time to stand up to the employer. ‘Tomorrow we have got “Solidarity Saturday” when we are asking people from all the different unions to come down here to support us.’

Unite workplace rep Pedro Azevedo said: ‘They have now taken our staff travel away for two years and hot line concessions, which are cheaper air tickets for members of staff and their families and friends. They have also taken away three years of bonuses and monthly performance allowance.

‘These are bullying tactics which make us all even angrier about what they are doing, but it also makes us realise that we are having a very powerful effect. They are also trying to bribe the crew who have been on strike already by offering to reduce the sanctions by 50% if they go back and break the strike.

‘But people have already made their decision to make their sacrifices for the greater good.

‘We know that it is going to take months to win, but we are ready for that. What we are doing is really hitting them hard, they are having to charter other airlines to fly their customers including Titan, Thomas Cook and Thompsons.’

Cabin crew who are not union officers wanted to speak to News Line anonymously to avoid victimisation. One striker said: ‘Our struggle is against a nationwide fundamental battle against corporate greed. We cannot afford to carry on living on the salary we are on, so we have no choice.

‘This is a fight to achieve a Living Wage. The threats and blackmail and bribery just make us stronger and more determined. We are looking forward to getting lots of support tomorrow. We are sending a message from our picket line to our One World American Airlines colleagues who are on strike today.’ Her colleague added: ‘I love my job and we all do. We are the public face of BA and we set high standards, but we deserve a proper wage and a transparent pay structure. The basic wage is just £12,781, which is poverty pay. We are all going to stick this out until we win.’