Friday, May 21, 2010

Flying by the seat of their pants

Last year, British Airways were losing over £1 million per day: surely they could do better this year? Er—define better...
British Airways has reported its biggest annual loss due to lower passenger numbers, higher costs and the impact of strike action.

The flag carrier lost £531m ($766m) in the 12 months to March - BA's biggest loss since it was privatised in 1987.

That adds to the £401m it lost in the 2008-9 financial year, but as it was less than expected, BA shares rose.

Do bear in mind, however, that this does not include losses from the volcanic ash cloud—which could push BA even further into the red.
The results come as BA faces 15 more days of strike action by cabin crew, due to begin on Monday.

I cannot articulate how bloody stupid I think that Unite's leaders are—Tony Woodley and his merry crew are going to bankrupt BA. Many thousands of people—most of whom are not members of a union—will find themselves in the dole queue.

And what will happen to Woodley's precious union members then...?

Oh, wait: that's right—they will get massive redundancy pay-outs, courtesy of the British taxpayer.

I really hate the bloody Unions.


DM Andy said...

Something you seem to be forgetting, it's not Woodley or Simpson who's calling this strike, it's the BA staff themselves. BA staff wanted to go on strike and if their union leaders don't go along with it then they would be voted out. Woodley's retiring in December but Simpson wants to carry on as Unite's General Secretary.

Unions have no power except that conferred on them by the members. Unions are incredibly democratic organisations.

DM Andy said...

Oh, and another thing - I think you'll find that the BA cabin crew might be more receptive to the need for belt tightening if that pain was being shared at all levels of the company.

In 2008/09 (the latest year for which information is available) Willie Walsh received a 6% pay award and was entitled to a £550k bonus, Senior Management received a 5% pay award, Non-Management received 4% but reductions in their pensions meant that total employee costs excluding restructuring for BA only increased by 0.6%.

I'm not on the shop floor at BA, but it seems from outside that the industrial problems of BA are largely down to Willie Walsh's management style. He could just treat BA staff as partners in BA's future success, I think there wouldn't have been a strike at all if he'd done that.

John R said...

DM Andy

From what we're being told the BA flight crew are the best paid in the industry and have perks the rest of us canm only dream about. Given that BA is losing around £1.5m PER DAY I think Willy W's management style is neither here nor there.

If the crew dont get real and understand the serious position BA is in and how easy it is for businesses and individuals to move to other carriers then they'll be discussing their former jobs with the other folk in the dole queue fairly soon.

Nigel Sedgwick said...

On this issue, I have a rather simple view.

ATC slots are a scarce resource, licensed by government agency on behalf of the people. If an airline has slots that it fails to use, it should lose them. If that airline then has more aircrew (cockpit and cabin) than needed for its slotted flights, it would be sensible to lose them too.

Best regards

marksany said...

British Steel, British Coal, British Leyland, etc destroyed by battles between Trot unions and troughing bosses fighting for control. British Airways will join them, it's just been a matter of time, it's like the template is hard wired.

Phil Dickens said...

As I recall, it was Tony Woodley who said "Strikes have been unnecessary." Not BA workers.

Union leaders and bureaucrats, put in a position of privilege utterly detatched from an ordinary workers' wage, are over-eager to compromise and sell-out their members in order to maintain their seat at the table. It is member militancy that forces their hand, as the Royal Mail dispute also showed.

And yes, Walsh is the main reason that this dispute has become so corrosive. His bullying style and overt aggression is at the root of this. Let's not forget, Unite/BASSA offered a savings package worth £50m - including pay cuts - as an alternative to redundancies. Walsh flatly rejected it and opted for war.

But, yeah, blame the unions. Can't have workers standing up for themselves now, can we?

John B said...

"run into the ground" was probably a bad metaphor there. You get the idea.