Belfast Telegraph

BA cabin crew picket Heathrow at start of three-day strike

British Airways cabin crew have "strongly supported" the start of a three-day strike over pay.

Members of Unite in the so-called mixed fleet crew, which is made up of workers who have joined the airline since 2010, mounted picket lines at Heathrow Airport as part of the union's protest over "poverty pay".

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell, whose constituency covers Heathrow, shadow business secretary Clive Lewis, and Unite general secretary Len McCluskey joined the pickets.

Mr McCluskey said: "It was fantastic to see such strong support for our members. Their courage and spirit in their fight for decent pay is undimmed despite the shamefully confrontational stance of British Airways.

"British Airways should be under no illusion about their determination to see movement on poverty pay. Mixed fleet cabin crew work tirelessly for pennies to provide a world class service and play a vital role in making British Airways a success.

"With British Airways' parent company forecasting massive annual profits of around £2.3 billion, it is clear the airline can afford to recognise their hard work and pay a decent wage.

"I urge British Airways to heed the anger of its mixed fleet cabin crew and work with Unite to address its pitiful levels of pay which force people to take second jobs to make ends meet."

BA said it will operate all its long-haul services to and from Heathrow during the strike and cancel a small number of short-haul flights.

Unite claims many mixed fleet crew members were forced to take on second jobs or turn up for shifts if they are sick because they cannot afford to be off ill.

BA has said its pay offer for mixed fleet crew was consistent with deals agreed with Unite for other British Airways workers, reflected pay awards by other companies and will ensure rewards for mixed fleet remain in line with those for cabin crew at its competitors.

Unite said more than 800 mixed fleet cabin crew workers have joined the union since the start of the dispute, taking membership to more than 2,900.

A BA spokesman said: "Our flight programme today has run to plan and we are flying 100% of our customers to their destinations."

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