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Latest update from GMB at British Airways

BA - NEW PAY OFFER AND BALLOT 2022

New Pay Offer & Ballot 2022

Dear Members

Following the positive outcome of the ‘A-Scale’ dispute at Heathrow, we now have a new pay offer from BA for the rest of 2022 and covering all parts of the business (except Cargo):

  • A pay rise of 5%, from 1 September 2022
  • A 5% one-off payment, paid in August 2022
  • A further pay rise of 3% effective from 1 December 2022

These would replace the one-off payments previously envisaged for September and December.

Our HCS2012 and Head Office ‘A-Scale’ members would also receive the 5% ‘Reward 2022’ bonus that they have not yet been paid.

Further details of the offer are available from your local GMB reps.

Ballot

BA require the agreement of the Trade Unions to implement this offer so we are balloting our members with a recommendation to accept. The ballot will conclude on Friday, August 5th at 12.00. So look out for communication from your local GMB reps.

Unions Make A Difference!

We believe this is an encouraging step from British Airways, which is why we are recommending you vote ‘Yes’ in our ballot.

Recent events have shown beyond doubt that being in a union and acting together can benefit us all.

 

Take Care, Stay Strong,

NADINE HOUGHTON 

NATIONAL OFFICER


Date: 25/01/2022

Dear GMB members, 

Last week myself and some of your leading reps met with senior managers from BA. The message that we gave them was very clear: our members have had enough.  

Your Issues 

We focussed on 3 main areas: 

Pay: Over the last 2 years most of our members have had to endure pay cuts and pay freezes, making their lives even harder in the face of the rising cost of living. As for our members who are on ‘new’ contracts, like HCS2012 and ABS, pay freezes have kept them stuck on wages that could hardly pay the bills in the first place. 

Work-Life Balance: Work changes introduced in 2020 and 2021 are ruining the health and the work-life balance of our members across the company. Examples include: leave reductions in Engineering; impossible rosters at Heathrow, Global Ops & Cargo; and restrictions on leave, swaps etc. in the Contact Centres.  

Workload:  As the company begins its return to ‘normal’, reduced staffing levels coupled with higher turnover are already leaving many of our members feeling swamped. This situation is particularly acute at Heathrow, where the COVID crisis means our members are also having to take on extra responsibilities and deal with increasingly anxious and bad-tempered customers.  

Poisoned Legacy 

Each of these problems arise directly from the measures taken in 2020-1 under the leadership of Willie Walsh and Alex Cruz, who callously took advantage of a national crisis to inflict permanent damage on a weakened workforce. The ‘Memorandums of Agreement’ that resulted were signed by the unions under duress. We cannot see any way for BA to move forward successfully while these remain as they are.  

Deeds not Words  

BA’s new leadership say that they recognise the hurt that has been caused. It is likely that the recent ‘Reality Check’ survey will confirm how low morale has fallen. Many colleagues are simply voting with their feet and getting jobs with companies that will pay them better and treat them with some respect. 

The GMB view is that BA needs to urgently address this crisis of morale and doing so requires more than just positive words. The following measures would make a start on the rebuilding process the airline desperately needs: 

  • Renegotiation of the Memorandums of Agreement; 

  • Discussions on pay that recognise the rising cost of living; 

  • Acting now to address work-life balance issues (eg rosters, leave etc) across the company. 

We will continue to update you as talks progress. 

Yours fraternally, 

NADINE HOUGHTON

GMB NATIONAL OFFICER


Date: 30/09/21

Dear GMB members,

I wanted to share with you a communication that has come from BA following the most recent BA Forum between GMB and Unite and BA representatives. 

There is something very significant missing from this summary. The GMB requested that BA remove the layoff clauses from local agreements reached during the fire and rehire last year. BA refused to do this, however, in the meeting they committed to supplying the unions with a form of words which gave a much clearer, national structure under which lay off clauses could potentially be implemented (for example in the event of another lockdown / closing of borders) 

This form of words is missing from the summary provided by BA following the meeting. 

We have today written to BA to request this. Our members need and deserve some certainty. 

BA have also made clear that they intend on sticking to the arrangements set out in the local agreements. GMB members must now consider what, if any, elements of the agreements need to be reviewed or challenged. 

Summary of meeting from BA:

Winter Measures

  • Sean released a vlog on Monday afternoon, in which he recognised and thanked colleagues for their contributions and efforts
  • We’re looking forward to welcoming colleagues back with effect 1 October 2021
  • From 1 October everyone will be unfurloughed.
  • We will not however have enough work for the number of people returning and so we will offer opportunities to colleagues to work in other areas of the airline such as our Global Engagement Centres
  • We will also offer voluntary options to colleagues such as BRS or unpaid leave should this be attractive to individuals.  We will work through the comms and processes to support this locally
  • On return, post furlough, colleagues will move onto the new agreements ie. New rates of pay, ways of working etc.
  • There are no plans for further redundancies associated with the end of furlough.
  • We now need to focus on implementing the agreements we created last year, and look forward to working with you on this.

Next steps

  • We will start communicating locally, welcoming colleagues back and the options available to them.
  • We will continue to review our delivery progress, and in the event we cannot or are not able to deliver the agreements we will reconvene the BA Forum to discuss.
  • We know you’ll be interested in our progress and rebuilding the airline and we will continue to meet as regularly as we need to in order to keep you updated and keep our dialogue going

NADINE HOUGHTON

NATIONAL OFFICER


Date: 29/09/2021

 

Dear GMB Member,  

On Monday 27tth September, I met with senior BA representatives at the BA Forum, alongside Unite.  

We were told that BA do not intend to enforce unpaid leave in response to the end of the CJRS scheme on October 1st.  

This has now been confirmed to you all in the ‘Vlog’ from Sean Doyle, where he says: ’When the CJRS funding goes, your basic pay will continue to be paid, in full, by British Airways’.  

For some of you there are still local arrangements around pay and hours in place , for example a percentage cut in your hours and pay and these are to be discussed locally as a matter of urgency .  

We are in the process of getting clarification on the company’s intentions going forward, but this is undoubtedly good news. We hope it is of some relief to you all.  

You are the best  

We were glad to see Sean say in the same Vlog: ‘You are the best people in the industry’. Because over recent years that hasn’t been the message coming from the top. Too many senior people across IAG have made careers from criticising their employees as being too expensive or too inefficient.  

So we hope this marks a turning-point in BA’s attitude towards their workforce. You are vital to BA’s recovery and it’s time that this was acknowledged.  

Your health comes first  

For many of our members, particularly in Head Office functions, October will see a move to ‘hybrid’ working, involving a partial return to the office. We know that this may worry some of you and we will do our best to support you in this. So if you have any concerns please raise these with your local representatives - your health comes first.  

Take care, Stay strong,  

Nadine Houghton.  

GMB National Officer.  

 


Date: 16/09/2021

 

Dear Colleagues, 

I am writing to you with an update on the situation at BA.  

BA Forum 

On Tuesday this week I attended a BA Forum meeting, involving senior representatives from BA and my counterparts from Unite and from BALPA. This was a welcome change from the approach taken by Alex Cruz during the ‘fire and rehire’ period last year, where all negotiations were conducted locally, and without proper coordination with the trade unions from a national perspective.

However, the meeting was a sombre one. The aviation industry remains extremely fragile and BA say they do not expect to fly a full programme for some time to come. The government subsidies for colleagues on furlough are scheduled to end in a couple of weeks. BA signalled that they are considering the use of unpaid leave as a response to these difficulties. 

The GMB made the point loud and clear that we can not find ourselves in the same position we did last Summer and that, if there is an agreement to be made, it would only be done if it was genuinely fair and equitable to all, with those with the broadest shoulders bearing most of the load.

Lobbying Government  

The GMB strongly believes the government should be extending its support to protect workers in aviation, being the industry that has been most impacted by the COVID crisis. We were part of a trade union delegation that met with the Aviation Minister earlier this month. We expect to meet with the Treasury soon. We are looking for a special package of measures to extend beyond the end of September. 

Unpaid Leave 

Despite this, we think that BA will still want to implement some form of unpaid leave scheme. It is our belief that they need to secure the agreement of the unions to do this successfully. 

There is no doubt that this will be difficult. Our members have had a wretched time over the last 18 months. Prices are rising everywhere you look, and nearly everyone’s income has reduced due to pay cuts and furlough. We know that many of you are unhappy that those at the top, at BA and at IAG, have been protected, or rewarded, during the crisis.  

We have had a lot of feedback saying that work should not be going out to places like India or South Africa if there is a shortage of work here. We would agree – particularly given the money BA have received from government, supposedly to protect jobs. 

Our Commitment 

So while we recognise the depth of BA’s problems we will push back if necessary. As we enter these negotiations we will do our best to protect our members and report back on any significant developments. You can help by writing to your MP asking for them to support our fight for continued government support. Let us know your thoughts on how we should be responding to the ongoing crisis in aviation. 

Stay strong, take care.

 

NADINE HOUGHTON 

NATIONAL OFFICER

 


Date: 06/09/2021

Dear GMB member,

It has been suggested in recent BA communications that GMB has been in talks with BA regarding the end of furlough. I wanted to let you know that, to date, no formal talks have taken place. 

As always, the GMB is committed to protecting jobs, pay and conditions during the industry's worse ever crisis. However, we have been clear with BA; our members have given all they can. Our reps have gone above and beyond to protect jobs but are now asking what more members can be expected to sacrifice. 

The GMB does not appreciate the misinformation that is deliberately being spread or the hints from senior managers that our members will have to take unpaid leave before any discussions with the union have even taken place. 

GMB members working for BA have faced a torrid 18 months, the last thing they need is further uncertainty.

The GMB has agreed to meet management this week but ultimately any next steps will be determined by our members. We will keep you updated on the outcome of those discussions.

 

Nadine Houghton

GMB National Officer


Date: 13/08/2020

 

BA: Access to Independent Legal Advice

 

Dear GMB member,

I know it has been some time since I have written to you. I know that what you are facing at the moment is a bitter pill to swallow and I know that many of you will be saying good bye to colleagues - and friends.

I want to take this opportunity to extend my thanks to your GMB representatives, who for the past 3 weeks have spent many, many hours in intense and difficult negotiations on your behalf. I won't go into the detail of those negotiations here as you will have had comms and discussions with your reps about the details of what's been 'negotiated' for your local area and many of you will now be, or will soon be voting in ballots.

The GMB representatives in BA are some of the finest in our movement. I learn from them every day, I continue to be inspired by them and remain incredibly proud to work alongside them. They have given hours of their time to do the best for you - the membership, in the most difficult of circumstances. 

My main purpose for writing today is to ensure that all GMB members have access to the GMB's solicitors for those needing independent legal advice for Settlement Agreements.

The dedicated email address to send your agreements to is sas@unionline.co.uk and you can contact the dedicated Unionline solicitor Diarmuid Deeney on 0114 296 5421.

I wish you and your families well in these troubled times.

In solidarity,

Nadine Houghton

 

 

Date: 04/05/2020

BA: GMB Update

The GMB firmly believes that whilst the majority of BA's staff are 'furloughed' and whilst the country remains in 'lock down' collective consultation cannot be meaningful. This is also the position of our sister union Unite. The current advice to our membership is, to engage in consultation meetings via electronic or other means would undermine the collective position of the unions. If BA were acting as a reasonable employer and genuinely wanted to engage in meaningful consultation they would wait until the end of Furlough and until such a time when staff are able to safely meet and discuss proposals. 

At the start of this crisis BA said they had a strong balance sheet and substantial cash liquidity and yet the clamour to cut jobs, terms and pay at a time of national crisis leads GMB to conclude that BA are acting opportunistically; seeking to exploit colleagues’ fears and the fact that many of us remain isolated from our colleagues. The public will not forgive a national company for exploiting a crisis in the pursuit of profit. Now is the time for us to pull together and act in the national interest, BA would do well to remember this.

BA has a legal obligation to do all they can to mitigate against job losses. To date, BA have refused to take out a government loan, despite the fact that the parent group IAG have accepted Spanish state handouts for Iberia and Vueling. Some have argued this is to give BA a competitive edge over less solvent airlines. Whatever the reason, can BA sincerely demonstrate they have done all they can to protect jobs? The GMB would argue not. 

We will be building our political campaign over the coming days and weeks. This is an issue of national importance. What BA decides to do will have ramifications for the wider economy and other companies will be watching closely. Politicians now have the chance to be on the right side of history on this issue. Do they choose to stand by loyal key workers who will be pivotal to getting this country back on its feet again or do they choose to stand with disaster capitalists who want to exploit this crisis for profit. 

We will, of course, continue to update you.

 

Stay safe.

Nadine Houghton

GMB National Officer

 

BA Proposal to Cut Jobs

Date: 30/04/2020

British Airways has announced that it intends to cut up to 12,000 jobs; but the GMB will not stand by as BA use the current crisis to attack our members while alternative solutions remain on the table.

The GMB and our sister trade union Unite stood shoulder to shoulder when BA attempted their first round of job cuts, we repeatedly called for BA not to act in haste. Sure enough, after the GMB led the charge, the government announced the Job Retention Scheme and we negotiated with BA to furlough 80% of staff instead of making them redundant.

Whilst options remain on the table - jobs can still be saved. BA and the sector will still need loyal, trained and skilled staff for the future.

The GMB believes that the current proposal to consult with staff who are furloughed is unlawful. It is shameless that BA have used taxpayer money to furlough staff and then moved so swiftly to make redundancies, this flies in the face of the spirit of the government's Job Retention Scheme. 

Opportunism from BA will not be tolerated, not by the union and not by the public and passengers. At a time when everyone needs to do their bit for the greater good, BA must step up and act responsibly and fairly. 

We know this is a worrying time for so many of our members, but your reps are stretching every sinew to support you, your union is here for you.

 

Nadine Houghton

GMB National Officer

 

Furloughing Arrangements at BA

Date: 02/04/2020

The GMB is pleased to announce that we have, today, reached an agreement with BA that will protect jobs during the current crisis. The agreement is signed jointly with Unite and is the result of the hard work of union representatives over the past few weeks.

The agreement protects up to 80% of our members pay and gives a firm commitment to protect terms and conditions. The agreement also 'pauses' the existing redundancy consultation.

The agreement was made possible by the government's 'Job Retention Scheme' which pays compensation to employers who ‘furlough' staff instead of making them redundant. Whilst the government scheme caps 80% of pay at £2,500 the joint union agreement with BA removes this cap.

If you are furloughed you are 'laid off' or 'stood down' from your duties, you do not need to come into work or work from home for your furlough period. You may be furloughed more than once on a rotational basis.

The furlough arrangements will need to be applied differently across different sections of the business, based on operational need. The GMB will continue to work with BA on which staff will be furloughed and for how long but our aim is to ensure the process is applied fairly and consistently. 

All furlough will be for a minimum of three weeks but could be for a maximum of two months (at present) 

We know that you will have questions about the scheme and we will be sending out our detailed advice / FAQ soon.

Thank you for your continued support through this difficult time but a special thank you to your senior reps who have worked so hard to get an agreement for our members.

 
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