BA staff back push for strikes
June 15, 2022
The prospect of industrial action at British Airways has risen sharply after members of the Unite union overwhelmingly voted in favour of a motion backing strikes this summer. In a poll, 97% of BA staff balloted backed strike action, says Unite, which represents 16,000 staff at the airline. Although a consultative ballot that was undertaken by the union to seek the views of its members, and not a vote on whether to imminently launch action, the move underlines that threat of strike action has increased at BA and for airlines across Europe. BA is currently facing conflict with its staff in a number of areas, but pay is at the heart of the issue. Unite is currently holding a separate vote on industrial action with around 500 members that will run to 27 June. Strikes are set to follow during July, should they vote in favour. Meanwhile, the GMB union is balloting check-in staff about strike action with a similar timeframe. "To anyone that has flown on British Airways recently, this overwhelming consultative ballot result will come as no surprise," says Unite. "British Airways management now can no longer ignore the universal discontent across their own workforce, in the way they have ignored the needs of their own customers. BA customers know first-hand that the airline is in chaos and that service levels are suffering as a direct result of its own previous disastrous 'fire and rehire' policies."
Unite says many of BA's Heathrow staff took pay cuts amid the Covid-19 crisis as revenues dried up but are now angry that this has not been restated, especially given that management pay has been returned to pre-pandemic levels. BA responds that the result of Unite's ballot is "disappointing", although "not surprising given the issues across the transport sector". Airlines have found themselves in a difficult position in recent months regarding staffing. Having shed many positions amid the pandemic, they are now trying to recruit into a strong labour market which is hindering their ability to staff up. Meanwhile, Covid-related absences have also impacted operations. This, combined with a surge of passengers desperate for their first break in years, plus staffing problems at airports and elsewhere, has already led to significant delays and numerous cancellations in Europe, the UK and the USA. During its results presentation earlier this month, BA's parent IAG revealed that it would cancel roughly 60 flights per day at Heathrow, or 10% of its total at the hub, until October, reflecting a lack of operational capacity. Ryanair and Brussels Airways are also facing the threat of strikes this summer following disputes with staff.

LATAM proposes Chapter 11 exit financing plan
June 14, 2022
LATAM Airlines Group has secured financing commitments for a proposal that could enable it to exit US Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The Chile-based group's exit financing proposal is subject to approval by the bankruptcy court for the Southern District of New York. JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Barclays, BNP Paribas and Natixis have agreed to grant exit financing to LATAM, the airline group states in an 11 June Securities and Exchange Commission filing. LATAM filed for Chapter 11 in May 2020, and in March 2022 received the green light from the bankruptcy court to begin soliciting votes from creditors for the approval of the reorganisation plan filed in November 2021. The court on 17-18 May held a confirmation hearing on LATAM's reorganisation plan. The group has previously disclosed that it seeks to raise $8.19 billion in the form of new equity, convertible notes and debt, to enable it to exit Chapter 11 in 2022.

​Ryanair crews in Spain programme six days of strike action
June 14, 2022
Trade unions representing Spanish cabin crews are planning six days of industrial action against Ryanair in late June and early July after negotiations on a collective labour agreement broke down. Staff across the low-cost carrier's 10 bases in Spain will stage 24h walkouts on 24, 25, 26 and 30 June and on 1 and 2 July, according to the USO union. "Ryanair crew continue to be third-party workers," states USO's Lidia Arasanz. "Our rights are still not respected. Ryanair has forced this strike and we have to return to the mobilisation so that the reality of our situation is known, so that Ryanair is forced to comply with the application of basic labour rights and court rulings and to achieve an agreement and some decent working conditions for the entire workforce. Ryanair is the only international company in our country without a collective agreement." Unions are seeking a collective labour agreement with Ryanair that would drive up pay and working conditions, and accuse Ryanair of failing to apply Spanish labour law, such as the entitlement to 22 working days of annual holiday plus 14 national holidays. Ryanair has signed a deal with the CCOO union, but SITCPLA and USO say this covers few if any employees at the airline and represents an attempt to marginalise them. The carrier, for its part, argues that the announcements by USO and SITCPLA are "a distraction from their own failures to deliver agreements" following three years of negotiations, and states its belief that cabin crews will not support the action. SITCPLA, USO and five other unions in Belgium, France, Italy and Portugal on 19 May signed an agreement pledging that they would "not hesitate to launch a Europe-wide strike action this summer" if negotiations with Ryanair broke down, raising the possibility of wider disruption at the carrier. Ryanair says collective labour agreements cover 90% of its staff across Europe, and that it has in recent weeks been negotiating with unions on improvements to these deals. "Those negotiations are going well and we do not expect widespread disruption this summer," it adds.


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