Unite Fears BA Suffering an Identity Crisis Over Moves to Introduce Low-cost Carrier Charges

Dépèche transmise le 26 septembre 2009 par PRNewswire

LONDON, September 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Unite, the UK's largest aviation union and the largest union representing workers at British Airways, is today (Saturday) accusing BA's management of suffering an identity crisis. It comes as the airline's management announces that it will charge for seat reservations, a move the union believes tarnishes the carrier's image further and is yet another misguided attempt to mimic the low-cost airlines.

Unite warns hefty charges - around GBP60 to book an aisle or window seat - for passengers already paying premium prices wishing to select seats on-line or sit together as families will drive customers away from BA.

Steve Turner, Unite national officer for civil aviation, described the announcement as "complete madness from a management team rapidly losing its way and undermining the proud standing of British Airways as the UK's national flag carrier.

"Unite is becoming increasingly frustrated with BA and its attempts to address change in the industry by adopting the practices of low cost carriers. Clearly, the management is suffering an identity crisis. But BA's market is not low cost, it will never successfully compete in the low cost market and it should not aspire to be a low-cost operator.

"BA's management is failing to recognise the extent of anger felt by customers already annoyed by additional charges made by low cost carriers. Customers 'upgrading' to BA do not expect to see add-on charges for seat allocation, baggage check in, meals and drinks.

"This is a mistake and a continuation of a misguided trend in BA that is undermining the airline's standing both at home and globally. Desperate measures, practices and tactics adopted by BA's senior management team and board are taking our airline in the wrong direction. Even the Prime Minister opted to use another carrier to fly to the G20 in the US, and not British Airways, the UK's national carrier and the only one with the union jack on its tail."

Unite is frustrated with the slow pace of dialogue with, and the erratic strategy adopted by, BA's management over measures to cut costs during the economic downturn. Unite has repeatedly warned that continued attacks on employee terms and the business itself, coupled with unilateral changes to working practices, is devastating morale and will bring further instability to the airline as it struggles to meet the challenges of the recession.

Despite these frustrations, Unite is continuing to work to find a mutually acceptable way forward in on-going negotiations with the company.

CONTACT: For further information, please contact Pauline Doyle on+44(0)7976-832-861


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