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Cath Everett

Sift Media

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

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News: BA cabin crew sue for loss of travel discounts during strike


A number of cabin crew living outside of England are seeking compensation from British Airways for indirect racial discrimination over its withdrawal of travel concessions during strikes two years ago.

According to the Guardian, the claims are being heard at an employment tribunal this week, where five air stewards are looking for redress of up to £8,000 each and a guarantee that a travel ban will not be imposed in future.
A total of 30 employees, who live in countries ranging from Scotland to France and Spain and who relied on discounted BA fares in order to commute in and out of Heathrow airport in an affordable fashion, are involved in the suit.
Alison Humphry, the claimant’s solicitor who works for the Russell Jones & Walker unit of Slater & Gordon Lawyers, said: “Our argument is that the blanket withdrawal of the staff travel concessions was a disproportionately large stick with which to beat those particular workers who suffered particular detriment because of their reliance on the concessions to get to work.”
Moreover, BA could have implemented the policy in a less discriminatory fashion, she argued. “These employees had been allowed to establish their domestic lives within their country of nationality and the withdrawal of concessions meant that, suddenly for the foreseeable future, their journeys to work would be extremely expensive and inconvenient,” Humphry said.
Some cabin crew claim to have lost out to the sum of £2,000 in having to buy full-price BA tickets to get to and from work during the period in question.
A BA spokesperson said: “We are resisting the claims being made against the airline.” At the time of the industrial action, which was settled last summer, the then chief executive, Willie Walsh, had said that he would not reinstate the staff travel scheme in full because it was meant for “those who show loyalty to the company, not those who try to damage its profits”.
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Cath Everett

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

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