Unite urges BA staff to accept pay cut

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BA ground staff Unite members voted for strike action to fight sackings and pay cuts at their mass meeting on August 20

THE UNITE union has sent a ‘GSS UPDATE 17 SEPT’ to its below-wing ground staff members working at Heathrow to try and persuade them to vote for a lousy deal with BA.

The Update states: ‘The first part of the document is called the preamble, the most important part of that is the last paragraph which means you will not be fired and rehired on the 19th of September, you will remain on your current terms and conditions.

‘It reads:

‘Upon acceptance of this offer, employees will be notified that their notice of dismissal will be rescinded, subject to acceptance of the changes contained within this agreement. By doing so, their current employment contract will remain in place, except where amended by this agreement.

‘Anyone who has not voted, please do so by 16.00 on the 18th September …

‘After this time, voting must close, to allow time to inform the company of the result, and before the company’s deadline, and we will also inform the membership of the result at the same time.

‘GSS NSP

‘GSS – Ground Staff below wing.’

Last Wednesday, following the appearance of Alex Cruz, the chief executive of British Airways at the transport select committee, Unite’s Howard Beckett said: ‘To be clear, the fire and rehire threat still hangs over some BA workers …’

He continued: ‘Draft agreements with British Airways will not be finalised by Unite until members have voted on them and agreed to changes in their contracts.’

He concluded: ‘Any changes in contracts should have been of a temporary nature and once British Airways returns to profit, the cuts in pay and conditions should be immediately restored.

‘This is the very least that British Airways should do for its loyal staff who were instrumental in delivering profits of £1.9 billion last year.’

However, an internal message seen by News Line, sent on the 16th September from Unite to the BA underwing staff, suggests that the union has agreed to a 4-7% pay cut.

The internal message reads: ‘Some of the changes/cuts are temporary and will last two years max.

‘On pay our staff would lose 4-7% depending on how much they earn, so if you’re on the top pay rate it will be a 7% cut and new starters would be a bit less.

‘All staff would lose 5% off their shift pay; both of these cuts are not temporary.

‘VR (Voluntary Redundancy) will be back on the table for anyone not wanting to stay.

‘The Staff made CR (Compulsorily Redundant) will have the chance to give back the money and go into a pool of staff to be brought back as need(ed), but they can only stay in it for max two years. After that they would be made redundant if they have not been bought back.

‘The pool is funded by the union and we will need to pay a percentage into it, the amount will depend on how many are in the pool, and as/if the number goes down so will what we pay. The staff in the pool will receive 70% of their pay …

‘The six weeks’ unpaid leave has changed from unpaid leave to what is basically another pay cut but is only Temp, and should not be the full six weeks, so you will get stopped the money but not get the time off, but the money will be taken over a period of time, not all in one go and it’s temporary, 2020-21.

‘Most important good news about this is you keep your contracts, your pension and most of your T&C’s (Terms and Conditions).’

Unite members must demand that this disgraceful surrender to BA must be halted and that the whole union be brought out to defend wages and every job at BA.

The TUC must be made to call a general strike to secure the nationalisation of BA, by bringing down the Tories and bringing in a workers government.