Thousands of British Airways (BA) cabin crew are to vote on whether to take industrial action in a dispute over a performance management scheme described by one union rep as a “human resources fantasy project”.
According to United Kingdom based Chartered Institute of Personnel Management and Development, almost 9,000 members of the British Airlines Stewards and Stewardesses Association (BASSA) – a section of trade union Unite – will be polled over action short of a strike.
Union bosses want the airline to suspend its introduction of a ‘dashboard’ scheme to allow consultations to take place and job security to be guaranteed.
Unite regional officer Matt Smith said: “In its current form this new dashboard system means, as an employee, you are constantly given red, green and possibly amber [ratings], based on a never-ending ‘continual improvement’ score, which, we believe, eventually year-on-year will become impossible to achieve.
“This would then give the BA management an excuse to get rid of dedicated long-serving staff.
“Frankly, this is an out-of-control human resources fantasy project and it is no surprise employees are pushing back against its ill-thought-out introduction.”
Smith was highly critical of HR’s choice and administration of performance management initiatives.
“I am always amazed how much companies are prepared to invest in new HR performance management policies when there is no clear evidence they actually achieve anything other than wasting the company’s money, creating employee stress and engendering a feeling of job insecurity,” he said.
“Our members would prefer to spend their time doing what they do best, which is giving the best service possible while ensuring the safety of BA customers.
“They want to continue delivering a billion-pound operating profit for the company, rather than needless bureaucratic form-filling on board the aircraft.”
He insisted the proposed action would not affect customers.
“If the vote is for industrial action, we would actually expect to see an improvement in service to passengers. We hope those on board will appreciate we are making a stand while avoiding unnecessary disruption to them as valued passengers.”
A BA spokeswoman said: “We’ve introduced a new system that includes feedback from customers about how they are looked after onboard. This sort of feedback is common in all industries.
“The system enables us to commend cabin crew who perform well and support those who need to improve so that we ensure our customers get the very highest standards of service.”
The ballot for the Eurofleet and Worldwide Fleet cabin crew, who are based at Heathrow Airport, will open on Thursday 21 July and close on Wednesday 17 August.