Striking Heathrow BA cabin crew cry foul over carrier’s sandwich chain move

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Unite trade union members working as cabin crew for British Airways’ ‘mixed fleet’ staged a 48-hour stoppage last week over a pay claim. The action also coincided with the roll-out of the new M&S food range on short haul flights across British Airways. The introduction of the M&S range follows the withdrawal of inclusive in-flight meals on BA’s short haul flights.

According to the union it will see ‘mixed fleet’ cabin crew operating out of Heathrow selling the same food, but being paid a basic starting salary which is up to £6,000 less than customer assistants will get in M&S’ Greater London stores from April this year, when their pay rises to above the London living wage.

With a bacon roll costing £4.75 on board, a packet of crisps £1 and a soft drink £1.80, a ‘mixed fleet’ cabin crew member would have to work nearly three hours to cover the cost of basic meal with their £3 an hour allowance for food, according to the Union.

Unite national officer Oliver Richardson said: “Cabin crew working for British Airways’ ‘mixed fleet’, 36,000 feet up in air, face earning up to £6,000 less basic pay than M&S staff selling the same food in store.

“M&S needs to ask itself whether it’s comfortable with this injustice and British Airways’ pitiful pay rates which have seen hundreds of ‘mixed fleet’ cabin crew stay away from work and mount picket lines in their fight for fair pay.

“The pennies ‘mixed fleet’ cabin crew are paid mean they will struggle to afford the M&S sandwiches they sell. We would urge M&S to do the right thing and tell British Airways to follow its lead and pay ‘mixed fleet’ cabin crew a fair and proper living wage.

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