British Airways strike 2017: What you need to know

1,400 staff walk-out in long-running pay dispute

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Credits: AFP

British Airways staff have commenced a two week walk-out as part of an ongoing war over wages and working conditions - and thousands of passengers are set to be affected over the next fortnight.

The action, which started on Saturday 1 July is expected to run for 16 days - drawing to a close on 16 July - just days before schools break up for the busiest travel season of the year.

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Over this period, an estimated 1,400 British Airways employees are expected to strike on flights to and from Heathrow airport - however the airline says it has partnered with Qatar Airways to minimise the damage.

What's the strike all about?

Credits: Getty

Getty

Cabin crew are staging industrial action over pay and working conditions at the airline. The dispute is amongst 'mixed fleet' staff who claim they're paid less than other workers. A third of all of BA's cabin crew fall into this category, all joined after 2010.

According to union body Unite, almost half of the new cabin crew have had to take on a second job to make ends meet, with some saying they had to sleep in their cars between shifts because they could not afford the petrol to drive home.

In addition, the union has also accused BA of threatening sanctions against staff who take industrial action - and is currently pursuing legal action on behalf of around 1,400 workers who it says were sanctioned for going on strike earlier this year.

Unite national officer Oliver Richardson said: "British Airways needs to drop its confrontational stance which is causing so much anger and leading to plummeting morale among its mixed cabin crew.

"With British Airways' parent company forecasting massive annual profits of around £2.3 billion, it is clear the airline can afford to recognise the hard work of its mixed fleet cabin crew by paying a proper decent wage.

"Rather than trying to bully workers and focusing its resources on leasing aircraft to cover striking cabin crew, British Airways should focus its energies on trying to resolve our members' legitimate concerns over poverty pay."

What British Airways says

AFP

Despite the walk-outs, BA told Mirror Money that around 99.5% of all flights will continue to operate as thanks to a partnership with Qatar Airways.

A statement said: "We will operate 99.5% of our schedule. Our oneworld partner Qatar Airways will be operating a small number of short-haul flights on our behalf.

The airline has drafted in nine jets from Qatar Airways to cover the walkout period, in other cases, flights have been 'merged'.

"We have merged a very small number of Heathrow long-haul services and all customers affected have been notified over the past week," a statement added.

What flights are affected?

BA has made no public announcement about which flights will or will not be affected, however it has warned that 0.5% could be subject to cancellations or delays. This is likely to be mostly long- haul.

The strike will only affect flights departing or arriving into London Heathrow. All other airports are unaffected.

If you've got a trip booked over the next 16 days and want to check your travel plans, the airline advises passengers use its online Manage My Booking tool to stay up to date.

To get in touch with BA's customer services, call 0344 493 0787 from the UK or abroad, or check for updates on twitter @British_Airways.

Alternatively, share your contact details with BA and they'll keep you up to date on your booked journey.

My flight is affected - what about compensation?

Credits: Getty

Getty

If your flight has been cancelled, the airline must offer you the choice of either a full refund or an alternative flight. Where there are delays of three hours or more, you are also entitled to compensation.

You can either a) Get your money back for all parts of the ticket you haven't used or b) Choose an alternative flight.

The amount payable in compensation is dependent on the distance of the flight and the length of the delay. The rules are set by EU Regulation 261/2004 and compensation is in Euros.

Coby Benson, flight delay solicitor at Bott & Co explains: "If a passenger's flight is cancelled or delayed for more than 3 hours then they are entitled to between €250 and €600 compensation, unless the disruption was caused by extraordinary circumstances: beyond the airline's control or events that are 'not inherent' in the day-to-day activity of an airline.

"In our opinion this is not extraordinary since the events are well within British Airways' control and the management of disgruntled staff is simply part and parcel of running any business, not least an airline."

BA told Mirror Money that while the "vast majority of services will be unaffected" the airline will meet all of its obligations under EU261 where necessary.

The levels of compensation are as follows:

  • 250 EUR for flights of up to 1,500km
  • 400 EUR for flights within the EU of more than 1,500km, and for all other flights between 1,500km and 3,500km
  • 600 EUR for all other flights

These amounts are reduced by 50% if BA can offer you an alternative flight route to your final destination with a new scheduled arrival time that doesn't exceed the original scheduled arrival time by:

  • Two hours for flights of up to 1,500km
  • Three hours for all flights within the EU of more than 1,500km, and for all other flights between 1,500km and 3,500km
  • Four hours for all other flights.

The quickest way to find out if your particular British Airways flight qualifies for compensation is by using a free tool such as refundme's flight compensation calculator. Law firm Bott & Co Solicitors also has a similar free to use flight compensation calculator.

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