11 Jul

Member Update – July 21

Yesterday the Government announced a relaxation of the rules surrounding quarantine for ‘Amber’ list countries. This is a positive step towards reopening international air travel. However, it is too early to predict what the immediate impact will be on demand for travel and how other countries will respond in terms of accepting UK visitors. 

We have had initial talks with BA to discuss the coming winter months and what, if any, mitigation measures may be required at Gatwick in terms of manpower requirements. Again, a lot will depend on the further easing of restrictions and, in particular, the restarting of US operations. We’ll continue to engage with the company and update you as the situation develops, but for now, things appear to be moving in the right direction.

Unite’s Furlough Agreement continues at its current level and is due to expire at the end of September. As you know, both Unite and BA are lobbying the UK government for sector-specific support to be extended. However, at the time of writing, there is no sign of that occurring. At the same time, the company anticipates the Gatwick schedule to increase over the next two months requiring all crew to be recalled.

With the easing of social distancing restrictions on the 19th of July, we have raised the issue of PPE and Face Coverings with the company and sought their assurance that these measures will continue onboard and on the ground. It’s Unite’s position that these measures must remain mandatory in all passenger transport settings. Our advice is to continue to be cautious and COVID aware. Also, be mindful that restrictions downroute may be different from the UK. Continue to follow all local Government guidance and respect and support colleagues who prefer to continue social distancing onboard and downroute.

Elsewhere, we are working with other Unite cabin crew branches, including Virgin, BASSA and MFU, through the Cabin Crew Advisory Group to lobby the HMRC to review and update Worldwide Subsistence Rates. This is a big piece of work that will require a significant joint effort to persuade the treasury to increase the rates. It may take some time, but all parties are fully committed to lobbying at the highest level of Government to get this review underway.

Locally, we are involved in a project and series of focus groups exploring ‘feedback and recognition’ to ensure it is delivered in a fair, equitable, and constructive manner. The last 12 months have been particularly bruising for everybody and we continue to encourage the company to develop its approach and management style to positively rebuild the Gatwick community.  

Lastly, as operational members will know, as part of the downsizing of the BA Gatwick operation, BA vacated the South Wing of Atlantic house. As such, we currently only have hot-desking facilities available to the TU in the CRC. Clearly, this is less than ideal for members to have a private conversation with their reps. The company has committed to providing dedicated office space for the TU, and we’ll update you when this facility is complete. In the meantime, your reps remain available Monday – Friday from 9 am to 5 pm for advice and support on 01293 666091. We continue to represent members at all meetings, including attendance. You can also contact your reps by email at office@thegatwickunion.com, and the out-of-hours emergency mobile is available for immediate support in operational emergency situations on 07525 966913.

As always, if there’s any support or assistance you need, do not hesitate to get in touch. 

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