11 Feb

Disputed 3 Day LAS Trips – COMPANY RESPONSE

It is important that you take time to read and understand the following, it is incredibly significant and has worrying implications to our MOA flying agreement and the ongoing terms and conditions of all Gatwick based Cabin Crew.
As you know your trade union recently raised an objection with the company in relation to the 2 x 3-Day Las Vegas trips planned in March’s trip package which has an outbound duty time of 12 hours 50 minutes. In our view these trips are a breach of our MOA flying agreement which states: 

Rest downroute following a planned duty of up to 12hours 30minutes will have one local nights rest.
Rest downroute following a planned multi-sector duty of between 12h 31m and 13h will have two local nights planned.

Despite the reference to ‘multi-sector’ in G.4, since Gatwick Fleet was established in 2006 all longhaul duties in excess of 12 hours 30 minutes have been planned with 2 local nights rest. The only exception to this has been when an alleviation to the rule has been requested and negotiated with the trade union in circumstances such as season boundary trips or the 2017 ‘Summer Season 3 Day Oakland’ alleviation.
Indeed, in 2015, the company approached the trade union to request an alleviation to operate an additional 11 x 3-Day Las Vegas flights in September 2015. The company helpfully confirmed the arrangement to all Gatwick Cabin Crew in an email which stated:


From: LGW Communications <lgw.communications@ba.com>
Subject: Las Vegas trips – September 2015
Date: 11 June 2015 at 12:21:49 BST

Dear Colleagues
You will see in the September bid package that British Airways is planning to operate 11 extra Las Vegas trips throughout September. This is due to increased customer demand and will generate extra revenue for LGW.  
These flights are in addition to the scheduled four-day trip for the month. 
The trip length for these flights will be three days. In order to operate these flights it has been agreed with the Gatwick Unite union that all crew operating these flights will receive a one light payment of £85 and four days off following the trip.

**** ***********            
Head of Gatwick Cabin Crew And Business Support               

The company’s initial response to the trade union was that the 2 x 3 Day LAS trips in the March bidding package were season boundary ‘Positioning Duties’, and as such they did not require two local nights rest downroute. Your trade union once again objected as no such rule exists.
The company has now provided their full response to the trade union and altered their original position. They now state:


Under normal Longhaul flying, two local nights are only applicable and planned for multisector duties which the LAS does not fall into. […] the addition of an extra local night and/or a payment to crew and/or additional days off would cause significant cost to be added to the route making it unsustainable for Gatwick to fly.
Given the competitive nature of our business at Gatwick and to ensure that we can maintain our market completeness, we simply cannot afford to be putting additional cost into our flying. […] The reason that the LAS originally generated two-local nights was simply down to the fact that this service was only schedule to operate 3 flights a week and not by our crew agreements.

In addition to their response on the Las Vegas issue, the company have raised two additional matters in their formal response to the trade union. The first relates to rest seats on the 777. 
In terms of background, when the company originally planned the densification of the Gatwick 777 aircraft, they informed the trade union that it was their intention to commercially sell the World Traveller Cabin Crew Rest Seats and impose a 3-break rest rotation on Gatwick cabin crew on longhaul flights. 
Needless to say, this proposal was totally unacceptable to your trade union. As a professional and responsible trade union we do not recklessly worry or antagonise our members or set out to give them sleepless nights. To this end, your representatives very clearly and concisely spelt out to senior members of the Gatwick Leadership Team how incendiary the company’s plans would be to Gatwick cabin crew and the likelihood of industrial unrest if such proposals were imposed. As a direct result the company subsequently decided to shelve their proposals and blocked off seats to facilitate a two-break crew rest rotation.
The company are now seeking to assert that Gatwick cabin crew are indebted to the company for lost revenue circa. £1million. Outraged, your trade union has been clear with the company – they do not have the right to steal well-deserved rest seats from their employees and then attempt to sell them back to their staff!
Furthermore, in December last year, the company approached the trade union to discuss updating the Gatwick MOA flying agreement. As a responsible trade union we listened to the company’s requests and tabled a number of our own such as limiting shorthaul blocks to 5 days and increasing rest between shorthaul to 15 hours and 18 hours between shorthaul and longhaul. The company told the trade union that our ideas where unrealistic and unachievable, the company then proceeded to breach the MOA over the New Year period by rostering cabin crew ‘Single Day’ standbys after which point the trade union understandably wrote to the company explaining we were reconsidering our involvement in further talks.
By raising these two additional issues in their formal response it is now clear to the trade union that the company’s appetite for greater profits at the expense of our flying agreement is increasing at an alarming pace and we must now draw a line to defend our terms and conditions.
Returning to the current breach of the agreement, the company has made it clear in their formal response to the trade union that they intend to IMPOSE the 3-Day Las Vegas trips for the entire season, in addition to refusing to respect the 2 local night rest rule on duties in excess of 12h 30m on a PERMANENT basis from this point on.
Gatwick cabin crew will now have to decide whether they accept the company’s formal response or whether they wish to oppose the company’s imposition. To this end, we will commence a consultation with our members to determine whether Gatwick cabin crew accept the company’s formal response and imposition or reject it; and if rejected, whether they wish their trade union to instigate the formal industrial dispute process.
You will shortly receive a consultative ballot via email asking you two important questions:
1: Do you accept the imposition of the 3-Day Las Vegas trip?
2: Do you wish your trade union to instigate the formal industrial dispute process?

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