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Last Updated: Saturday, 2 August, 2003, 10:54 GMT 11:54 UK
British Airways losses: Your reaction
British Airways Chief Executive Rod Eddington (left) shakes hands with Paul Talbot from Amicus outside British Airways headquarters.
British Airways executives have reached agreement with union leaders following a dispute over working conditions.

But BA says the recent staff dispute has cost it up to 40m, as it unveils a loss of 45m for the April to June period. The row centred on the introduction of a new electronic swipe card clocking-on system at Heathrow airport.

Workers had feared that the new system would be used to push through other changes in pay and conditions.

What do you think of the agreement? Are you a BA staff member? What impact has the strike action had on you?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


The following comments reflect the balance of views we have received:

The "world's favourite airline". Theirs must be a small world.
Keith, UK

Why is it that whenever something is this country is successful we always have to damn it? The success of BA is something we should be proud of as should its employees.
Richard, Great Britain

It's frightening to read how many people seem to think that the 'global market' means standardising employment conditions downwards. Is that what we really want for ourselves? Sure the BA staff shot themselves in the foot by carrying out an unofficial strike, but it's important to realise that they did that not because of a proposed swipe card system but because of the arrogant approach of management to this change and the worry that it was a step down the road to annualised hours playing havoc with employees' lives.
Katherine, UK

Management don't see this side of things because it's easier not to
Max Richards, England
I have worked under a swipe system and when times are tough, you DO get targeted on toilet breaks and logon/start-up times are allotted as part of the 15 mins break entitlement throughout the whole day. Oh, and only 1/2 an hour lunch during which you have to spend five mins each way to and from the staff restaurant, so you end up with only 20 mins during which you have to queue for your meal!!!! So, you have people panic eating so they have indigestion problems later in the day. You can't use the loos then though for fear of slipping on performance 'targets'. Do people realise just what it does to an adult's morale when they have to ask permission to use the loos? Management don't see this side of things because it's easier not to. Talk about 19th century workhouse management style!!!
Max Richards, England

Change or die, unless the staff knows that, then they can line up at the dole office, or try to get a job at a low fair airline. The management knows it; the unions know it, wake up BA staff or you will all be out of work
Ken, UK

I would think the swipe card system would be more efficient and ultimately cost effective and as long as these savings are passed on to the customer, that can only be a good thing. More customers means more jobs, so staff should not be affected. However there timing was atrocious. BA shot themselves in the foot by trying to implement this system at one of the busiest times of the year. Not very well thought out!
Kelly S, East Sussex, UK

There is only one simple reason for an airline's existence and that is to transport passengers from A to B. This simple fact appears to be lost on some members of BA management and staff. The conclusion is once your passengers go elsewhere (as many would indicate they have already done so) there will be no reason for you to still fly aircraft. The competition must be hoping you don't learn the simple reason before it's too late and they can buy up the bits left over.
Joe, New York City, USA

I cringe every time I hear about this sort of thing - Corporate mismanagement. The majority of UK managers are utterly useless and know nothing of leadership, but why should they? They haven't been trained. Communication here is at fault. Try self employment - it'll sharpen your professional skills.
Mark, UK

The recent BA strikes are just another nail in its coffin
Lyn Hudson, Hong Kong/ UK
The recent BA strikes are just another nail in its coffin. Their moaning employees and bureaucratic structure are dragging it into an early grave. I used to be proud of our national carrier and as an expatriate abroad was a frequent user of the airline. However until the airline drags itself into the 21st century I will gladly continue using other airlines whose service far surpasses that of BA.
Lyn Hudson, Hong Kong/ UK

BA has the right to implement the swipe card system. The employees didn't want it because it would prevent them being economical with the truth on their time sheets. How can anyone be on the side of the employees? What a warped world we live in when people will support employees' ability to cheat their employers out of money. When the company goes bankrupt the employees can blame themselves.
Derek, USA

I do not understand what BA workers are complaining about, when most of the working UK population uses an electronic swipe card system for years now. This type of system is reasonable and it does not affect any other changes in pay and conditions of work. Their protest against these changes makes me think: "They would not have complained if they were doing their job properly in the first place".
Anon, Scotland

Management is to blame. They must've known about the most likely reaction to these new procedures. And if they didn't anticipate it, then they are completely out of touch with their workforce - and yet again to blame for the disaster. ?40m down the drain for nothing? How will they explain this to the shareholders?
Volker, England (ex Germany)

The behaviour of the BA staff who walked out is appalling. Since when does the "average Joe" working as a customer service rep have the right to make management decisions for a multi-million dollar corporation? The unions have gotten out of hand. These people walked out on a company that has given them gainful employment. They left passengers stranded. These same BA employees have caused their employers monetary losses. I think that when layoffs occur, these employees should remember that they caused it and they should be the first ones to be laid off. I have no respect for striking workers. If you don't like the conditions, go work somewhere else. Many of us work in industries that are not dominated by unions and we have to do just that.
Shayna, USA





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