Saturday, 28 April 2012

Willy Walsh CEO of British Airways - Service and Safety with A Fuck You!


Willy Walsh CEO of British Airways - Service and Safety with A Fuck You! by Paul Hanes on Saturday, October 9, 2010 at 11:21pm ·

The British Flag Carrying Airline British Airways in in turmoil Or so we are told. It posted pre tax losses of £401m in the 2008/9 financial year. Through Willy Walsh its chief Executive who oversaw these 'losses' British Airways has now come into conflict with its workforce of Cabin Crew The British Airlines Stewards and Stewardesses Association a division of the Unite Union. In order to adress these losses Willy Walsh in 2009 wrote to Cabin Crew asking them to save the airlne by working for free and to volunteer for unpaid work. At the same time he implemented a drive to reduce British Airways Cabin Crew Workforce of 14,000 by 4000 workers and to reduce Cabin Crew Numbers on each flight to potentialy unsafe levels as the evacuation of an aircraft is one primary function the crew undertake apart from serving refreshments.

A 2.6% paycut followed by a two year payfreeze was also imposed and accepted by the Union. As part of his proposed measures New Staff are to be offered basic contracts of only £11,000 per annum with a £2.40 hour flight bonus when in the air. This is compared with £14,400 at Virgin Atlantic and £20,200 at easyJet. Considering that British Airways operates primarily out of London Heathrow and London Gatwick, the transport hubs for one of the most expensive cities where the London Average wage is £34,762. It is not hard to see that on BA Cabin Crew wages it would be difficult to live in Britain which enjoys an average wage of £24,603. As such British Airways has actively recruited staff from its destination countries and many of its staff have moved away from London to live close to British Airways Destination Airports as the cost of Living In London rises. To do this staff rely on free travel provided by British Airways in ordeer to travel to their working shift starting point in London. BA’s pilots earn an average of £107,600, compared with £89,500 at Virgin and £71,400 at easyJet.


This is something that Willy Walsh is also seeking to address and Pilots at British Airways have offered £26 Million in savings to the company which was accepted. Similarily the Cabin Crew through their union Unite also offered £51 Million in savings which Willy Walsh turned down. They have since offered 63 million pounds in savings which has also been turned down. It is difficult to see why this group of predominately female workers generous offer was not accepted whilst their predominately male counterparts the pilots lesser offer was accepted. The gender imbalence in pay continues. Part of British Airways losses were due to economic conditions which saw operating costs rise by 13% due to the weaker performing British Pound and the fact that the airlines fuel costs are paid for in US Dollars. It is however important to understand this £401 Million Pound Loss in the context that in the previous year British Airways posted a profit of £922 million pounds and due to the normally fluctuating bussiness of Airlines it has over £2 billion in Cash Reserves in which it operates its bussiness. BA's Capital invesment also extended to Terminal 5 which resently opened so by no means could this company bee seen in such charitable terms as its director Willy Walsh Asks for staff to work for free with a promise to those who do that they will face any incoming axe last. So ignoring the doom and gloom reaction of the press and managment to British Airways so called woes, the previous years massive profit of £922 million followed by the 2008/9 loss of 401 million it could be argued that a two year profit of £260 million shows British airways to be a profitable enterprise and it is difficult to see why such attacks on workers pay and conditions are now being enfored upon its workforce. A comon tend is occuring across europe with many workers being asked to reduce their pay by up to 30% with no real justification. This is currently evident in Greece. The pleasant workers of the British Airways Cabin Crew are not your usual militant Trade Unisonists who you would expect to strike and they have balloted to undertake rolling stoppages in a series of 5 day strikes. So far these strikes has cost the airline £7 million a day and the total is now about £70 million. During the strike any British Airways employee who speaks to the media has been suspended or sacked. Over 50 have now been suspended one for writing OMG on her facbook page about news within Negotiations. Others have been suspended for cheering at a union meeting and now face investigation and possible dismissal. All staff who took part in the strikes have had their travel benifits removed permanently. The fear in which The British Airlines Stewards and Stewardesses Association the Branch of Unite when advocating for its members is palpable. Whilst trade unionism remains a human right enshrined in the Human Rights Act this organisation has had to speak through retired cabin crew staff in order to get their message to the public and press. Many Negotiations have occured between the Unions and British Airways Management. We are now told that all points of negotiation have been agreed between British Airways and The Unions except that Willy Walsh will not budge on the reinstatement of Travel Perks to the majority of 14,000 workforce who took part in the strikes. The Unions position is that this benifit is vital to the thousands of its members who live throughout Europe and close to British Airway's, destination Airports. Without this perk they will be unable to travel to work. Exisitng employees who have been on strike returned to work only to have to pay hundreds of pounds in ticket cost to commute to work. This benifit was part of the agrement that British Airways recruited them and is having deep reaching consequesnces fo thos staff. One staff member who traveled in from Ireland lost out further to the Volcanic ash crisis as she was unable to fly on two flights which she had paid full price for. She lost out on both occasions. This ash crisis shut down UK airports for almost a week and cost the Airline industry as a whole hundreds of millions of pounds. The way in which Willy Walsh dealt with the Icelantic Volcanic in Late April 2010 gives us further insight into the man and the values he posses when it comes to profit over people. The primary concern during the ash crisis was the danger of a wafer thin layer of micro ash floating in the air is that when it is sucked into a jet turbine where the operating temperature in the combustion chamber heats up to 2000 degrees celcius (the maximun temperature of a jet fuel fire will reach, when constantly fed fuel) it sticks to engine parts in the form of molten glass. The melting temperature of glass starts at about 1500 degrees. So when this glass laden ash melts in the turbines it coats it with a fine layer of melted glass which is hot and (importantly) sticky. Then other small bits of ash attach to the melted bits and build to form larger bits of molten hot sticky glass. These larger bits then can be flung a great velocity and temperature inside the engine causing terminal damage and midflight aircraft malfunction. You know.... big explosion everbody dies.

 Additionally invisable to the naked eye ash can gradually hit the plane's cockpit windows causing a sand blasting effect which virtually sandpapers the windows or leaves sticky tar like volcanic debris attached to the windows and the pilot's vision can be totally abscured. Not good with a 450 tonne 747 flying into London. On Thursday 17th January 2008, ice in the fuel lines of a jet engine brought a British Airways Plane down short of the runway narrowly avoiding rootops and fatalities by pure luck and pilot skill. A catastrophic scenario is not so hard to imagine with the slightest of engine failures. On 24 June 1982 British Airways Flight 9 out of Jakarta Suffered engine failure in all 4 engines and narrowly averted disaster after flying into an volcanic ash cloud which is invisible to radar. The Civil Aviation Authority is the UK's specialist aviation regulator. Through its skills and expertise it is recognised as a world leader in its field. During the Ash Crisis it had issued a ban on all air trafic operating in ash effected airspace. It is the expert and it is put there to regulate this largely private for profit industry and ensure the safety of all of us. It is a government agency set up to protect us all. Thats what we pay our taxes for. That is why I was astounded on the 21st April 2010, when British Airways thorough Willy Walsh announced they have launched 26 long haul flights packed with passengers with the intended destination of the London airports of Heathrow and Gatwick. This was in defiance of the Civil Aviation Authority in what was being reported as a deliberate attempt by British Airways to force a faster decision from the CAA on opening airports before the safety of passengers and Londoners could be guaranteed in the normal process. In essence British Airways is loosing about 25 Million Pounds a day due to the volcanic ash and like a cash haemoraging junkie Willie Walsh was making decisions in defiance of and bullying the highest legal authority in aviation in this country. Seemingly for profit. There are disturbing similarities between Willy Walsh's contempt shown toward his staff as he has with the safety of passengers and Londoners onthe ground. To deny the safety issue of volcanic ash and to try and force an impasse which could put the lives of londoners and passengers at risk is representative of the lack of loyality British Airways and Willy Walsh has for the people of Britain.

It was like witnessing was the most macarb bargaining chip in at a poker game in history. 26 planes full of people threatening to illegally enter potentially unsafe airspace. The Civial aviation authority was set up for the protection of public safety and is a function of the government. Safety is their primary concern. British Airways is a shareholder owned company set up for the profit of its shareholders and led by a seemingly preditory CEO. Given the choice I know which one, I want making decisions in relation to safety both in the air and on the ground. Even if the Civil Aviation Authority get it wrong and wait a little longer to ensure people's safety over profit they should be able to do so without the profit making companies CEO's interfereing or lobbying our unelected Lords. It after all is the CAA's decision and process. It should be made in their own time. It was reported by 8:30pm on the 20th April, 2010 several hours after British Ariways launched the flights towards london that the airports would reopen at 10pm. Interestingly this decision was made by Lord Adonis, the 'Airlines' in the presence of Willy Walsh and the Civil Aviation Authority whilst 26 Planes were en route with a full house of lives on board. Shortly after 10pm on that day the familiar rumble of jet engines roared over my house towards Heathrow. All were British Airways planes. All would have been in the air prior to the safety of Londoner's was determined or decided. Let us make profit now or we will hold people to ransom regardless seems to be the all to familiar language of extremists whether capitalist, religious or otherwise which the Government should be protecting people from. With a workforce on substantialy smaller wages I am also conerned that the quality of life for working people dwindles across Europe that people like Willy Walsh will be the first to complain that it is not such a nice place to live in anymore. Paul Hanes Fourman Films Willy Walsh CEO of British Airways - Service and Safety with A Fuck You! The British Flag Carrying Airline British Airways in in turmoil Or so we are told. It posted pre tax losses of £401m in the 2008/9 financial year. Through Willy Walsh its chief Executive who oversaw these 'losses' British Airways has now come into conflict with its workforce of Cabin Crew The British Airlines Stewards and Stewardesses Association a division of the Unite Union.

In order to adress these losses Willy Walsh in 2009 wrote to Cabin Crew asking them to save the airlne by working for free and to volunteer for unpaid work. At the same time he implemented a drive to reduce British Airways Cabin Crew Workforce of 14,000 by 4000 workers and to reduce Cabin Crew Numbers on each flight to potentialy unsafe levels as the evacuation of an aircraft is one primary function the crew undertake apart from serving refreshments. A 2.6% paycut followed by a two year payfreeze was also imposed and accepted by the Union. As part of his proposed measures New Staff are to be offered basic contracts of only £11,000 per annum with a £2.40 hour flight bonus when in the air. This is compared with £14,400 at Virgin Atlantic and £20,200 at easyJet. Considering that British Airways operates primarily out of London Heathrow and London Gatwick, the transport hubs for one of the most expensive cities where the London Average wage is £34,762. It is not hard to see that on BA Cabin Crew wages it would be difficult to live in Britain which enjoys an average wage of £24,603. As such British Airways has actively recruited staff from its destination countries and many of its staff have moved away from London to live close to British Airways Destination Airports as the cost of Living In London rises. To do this staff rely on free travel provided by British Airways in order to travel to their working shift starting point in London. BA’s pilots earn an average of £107,600, compared with £89,500 at Virgin and £71,400 at easyJet. This is something that Willy Walsh is also seeking to address and Pilots at British Airways have offered £26 Million in savings to the company which was accepted. Similarily the Cabin Crew through their union Unite also offered £51 Million in savings which Willy Walsh turned down. They have since offered 63 million pounds in savings which has also been turned down. It is difficult to see why this group of predominately female workers generous offer was not accepted whilst their predominately male counterparts the pilots lesser offer was accepted. The gender imbalence in pay continues.

Part of British Airways losses were due to economic conditions which saw operating costs rise by 13% due to the weaker performing British Pound and the fact that the airlines fuel costs are paid for in US Dollars. It is however important to understand this £401 Million Pound Loss in the context that in the previous year British Airways posted a profit of £922 million pounds and due to the normally fluctuating bussiness of Airlines it has over £2 billion in Cash Reserves in which it operates its bussiness. BA's Capital invesment also extended to Terminal 5 which resently opened so by no means could this company bee seen in such charitable terms as its director Willy Walsh Asks for staff to work for free with a promise to those who do that they will face any incoming axe last. So ignoring the doom and gloom reaction of the press and managment to British Airways so called woes, the previous years massive profit of £922 million followed by the 2008/9 loss of 401 million it could be argued that a two year profit of £260 million shows British airways to be a profitable enterprise and it is difficult to see why such attacks on workers pay and conditions are now being enfored upon its workforce. A comon tend is occuring across europe with many workers being asked to reduce their pay by up to 30% with no real justification. This is currently evident in Greece. The pleasant workers of the British Airways Cabin Crew are not your usual militant Trade Unisonists who you would expect to strike and they have balloted to undertake rolling stoppages in a series of 5 day strikes. So far these strikes has cost the airline £7 million a day and the total is now about £70 million. During the strike any British Airways employee who speaks to the media has been suspended or sacked. Over 50 have now been suspended one for writing OMG on her facbook page about news within Negotiations. Others have been suspended for cheering at a union meeting and now face investigation and possible dismissal. All staff who took part in the strikes have had their travel benifits removed permanently. The fear in which The British Airlines Stewards and Stewardesses Association the Branch of Unite when advocating for its members is palpable. Whilst trade unionism remains a human right enshrined in the Human Rights Act this organisation has had to speak through retired cabin crew staff in order to get their message to the public and press. Many Negotiations have occured between the Unions and British Airways Management. We are now told that all points of negotiation have been agreed between British Airways and The Unions except that Willy Walsh will not budge on the reinstatement of Travel Perks to the majority of 14,000 workforce who took part in the strikes. The Unions position is that this benifit is vital to the thousands of its members who live throughout Europe and close to British Airway's, destination Airports. Without this perk they will be unable to travel to work. Exisitng employees who have been on strike returned to work only to have to pay hundreds of pounds in ticket cost to commute to work. This benifit was part of the agrement that British Airways recruited them and is having deep reaching consequesnces fo thos staff. One staff member who traveled in from Ireland lost out further to the Volcanic ash crisis as she was unable to fly on two flights which she had paid full price for. She lost out on both occasions. This ash crisis shut down UK airports for almost a week and cost the Airline industry as a whole hundreds of millions of pounds. The way in which Willy Walsh dealt with the Icelantic Volcanic in Late April 2010 gives us further insight into the man and the values he posses when it comes to profit over people. The primary concern during the ash crisis was the danger of a wafer thin layer of micro ash floating in the air is that when it is sucked into a jet turbine where the operating temperature in the combustion chamber heats up to 2000 degrees celcius (the maximun temperature of a jet fuel fire will reach, when constantly fed fuel) it sticks to engine parts in the form of molten glass. The melting temperature of glass starts at about 1500 degrees. So when this glass laden ash melts in the turbines it coats it with a fine layer of melted glass which is hot and (importantly) sticky. Then other small bits of ash attach to the melted bits and build to form larger bits of molten hot sticky glass. These larger bits then can be flung a great velocity and temperature inside the engine causing terminal damage and midflight aircraft malfunction. You know.... big explosion everbody dies. Additionally invisable to the naked eye ash can gradually hit the plane's cockpit windows causing a sand blasting effect which virtually sandpapers the windows or leaves sticky tar like volcanic debris attached to the windows and the pilot's vision can be totally abscured. Not good with a 450 tonne 747 flying into London. On Thursday 17th January 2008, ice in the fuel lines of a jet engine brought a British Airways Plane down short of the runway narrowly avoiding rootops and fatalities by pure luck and pilot skill. A catastrophic scenario is not so hard to imagine with the slightest of engine failures. On 24 June 1982 British Airways Flight 9 out of Jakarta Suffered engine failure in all 4 engines and narrowly averted disaster after flying into an volcanic ash cloud which is invisible to radar. The Civil Aviation Authority is the UK's specialist aviation regulator. Through its skills and expertise it is recognised as a world leader in its field. During the Ash Crisis it had issued a ban on all air trafic operating in ash effected airspace. It is the expert and it is put there to regulate this largely private for profit industry and ensure the safety of all of us. It is a government agency set up to protect us all. Thats what we pay our taxes for. That is why I was astounded on the 21st April 2010, when British Airways thorough Willy Walsh announced they have launched 26 long haul flights packed with passengers with the intended destination of the London airports of Heathrow and Gatwick. This was in defiance of the Civil Aviation Authority in what was being reported as a deliberate attempt by British Airways to force a faster decision from the CAA on opening airports before the safety of passengers and Londoners could be guaranteed in the normal process. In essence British Airways is loosing about 25 Million Pounds a day due to the volcanic ash and like a cash haemoraging junkie Willie Walsh was making decisions in defiance of and bullying the highest legal authority in aviation in this country. Seemingly for profit.

There are disturbing similarities between Willy Walsh's contempt shown toward his staff as he has with the safety of passengers and Londoners onthe ground. To deny the safety issue of volcanic ash and to try and force an impasse which could put the lives of londoners and passengers at risk is representative of the lack of loyality British Airways and Willy Walsh has for the people of Britain. It was like witnessing was the most macarb bargaining chip in at a poker game in history. 26 planes full of people threatening to illegally enter potentially unsafe airspace. The Civial aviation authority was set up for the protection of public safety and is a function of the government. Safety is their primary concern. British Airways is a shareholder owned company set up for the profit of its shareholders and led by a seemingly preditory CEO. Given the choice I know which one, I want making decisions in relation to safety both in the air and on the ground. Even if the Civil Aviation Authority get it wrong and wait a little longer to ensure people's safety over profit they should be able to do so without the profit making companies CEO's interfereing or lobbying our unelected Lords. It after all is the CAA's decision and process. It should be made in their own time. It was reported by 8:30pm on the 20th April, 2010 several hours after British Ariways launched the flights towards london that the airports would reopen at 10pm. Interestingly this decision was made by Lord Adonis, the 'Airlines' in the presence of Willy Walsh and the Civil Aviation Authority whilst 26 Planes were en route with a full house of lives on board. Shortly after 10pm on that day the familiar rumble of jet engines roared over my house towards Heathrow. All were British Airways planes. All would have been in the air prior to the safety of Londoner's was determined or decided. Let us make profit now or we will hold people to ransom regardless seems to be the all to familiar language of extremists whether capitalist, religious or otherwise which the Government should be protecting people from. With a workforce on substantialy smaller wages I am also conerned that the quality of life for working people dwindles across Europe that people like Willy Walsh will be the first to complain that it is not such a nice place to live in anymore.

 Paul Hanes Fourman FilmsThis article appeared in Hamburg's Premiere Independent Newspaper READ.

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