Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Spanish/London Airways

The news that British Airways is considering becoming a Spanish company after its merger with Iberia and the UK government's statement that it would not stand its way may not have any ramifications for BA pensioners but many of the 47,000 would like some reassurance.

What protection does Spanish law give pensioners? Does the UK government's protection, limited though it is, extend to pensioners of a Spanish company? Can BA, under Spanish law, do with impunity what ABAP managed to stop it doing as a British company and manipulate the pension funds for its own benefit?

No-one expects the unelected Liaison Council to be awake to this situation - after all someone has to write to them raising the issue first and then they have to decide that it's important enough to pass on to BA, but why is ABAP, the only organisation dedicated to defending our pensions, not asking these questions?

Friday, 6 March 2009

And still BA dissembles.

Why can British Airways not be completely open and frank?

Touchdown for Spring 2009 has a four-pages article described as "the main changes" which ST09 will mean. On the front page the article is billed as "everything you need to know ... about the new policy" and Clare Hatchwell (now described as Customer Relations and Staff Travel Manager) gushes that "one of the key challenges has been communicating the new policy to out 100,000-strong customer base to make sure people are aware of the changes." If this is what Ms Hatchwell regards as communicating the changes to 47,000 retired "customers" she is either deluded or incompetent.

Nowhere in the four pages is the change which has so raised the ire of so many pensioners - the imposition in retrospect of a limit on the period for which they are entitled to Staff Travel - mentioned at all. Actually that's not precisely true - there's a brief mention of LoS [Length of Service] in the section written by the unctuous Robert James in a self-serving piece devoted to the unelected Liaison Council but there's no explanation.

As the Working Group recorded in its Final Report, BA isn’t going to be allowed to forget this injustice - it will be referred to whenever the opportunity arises; for example, if Mr Walsh tries to enrol the support of pensioners for his Third Runway campaign again, he’ll find that this time our support will have a price.

Unlike the unelected Liaison Council which has completely given up any pretence at fighting for fair treatment of all pensioners - in their words "we can only accept that ST09 will be introduced" - the Staff Travel Watch, organised on behalf of all pensioners worldwide, is going to be a problem for BA that won’t go away.