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PA110
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Possible BA Disruption This Weekend?

Tue Aug 23, 2005 8:13 am

Has anyone heard anything about a possible BA disruption this weekend? I client of mine was speaking with relatives in the UK, and was told of a rumor that BA staff might walk out this weekend?

I've not heard anything, and don't find any threads to this effect either. Has anyone else heard anything?
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IADLHR
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RE: Possible BA Disruption This Weekend?

Tue Aug 23, 2005 8:30 am

I think we may know something in the next days or so. However. from what I hear it could possibly be close down LHR.

As I undestand it, the catering co, Gate Gourmet, has until tomorrow (Tuesday) for BA to come to terms with them about a new contract. If they dont, it is quite possible, I am told, for the catering co to permanently shut down and lay everyone off.

As I understand it, if that happens there could be a massive walkout of all various unions and groups at BA. What I am unclear about is how, if that happens, does that shut down the entire LHR.
 
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RE: Possible BA Disruption This Weekend?

Tue Aug 23, 2005 8:32 am

It looks as though Gate Gourmet will go into administration by the end of the week and maybe there will be some fall-out within BA. Without a new contract from BA at higher rate GG are doomed.
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IADLHR
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RE: Possible BA Disruption This Weekend?

Tue Aug 23, 2005 8:35 am

I hear that term administration, used in that context, what does that mean?
I have a feeling it means bankruptcy. I hope someone from the UK can clarify that for me. Many thanks.
 
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garpd
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RE: Possible BA Disruption This Weekend?

Tue Aug 23, 2005 8:43 am

BA's predicament is a tough one. And what's worse there's not really a damn thing they can do about it.

BA have requested GG sort out their employee dispute, then they can get the contract. While the dispute continues, the threat of more wildcat strikes from BA ramp rats is high. And the likelihood would be increased if BA simply signed another contract, know GG are not going to resolve the employee dispute.

But GG refuse to return the strikers to the payroll. As long as they keep insisting on this, BA cannot be guaranteed a stable service from GG, or rest easy knowing that there will be no more wildcat action.
But, without a new contract from BA, GG have stated they will be forced to shut down. If GG go down, its seems likely the wild cat strikers will walk out again in protest, and for who knows how long.

So you can see, BA are damned if they do and damned if they don't!

BA have no one else to turn to either. There is no other catering service at LHR big enough to meet BA's needs. At least none that will be able to cope at first.
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garpd
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RE: Possible BA Disruption This Weekend?

Tue Aug 23, 2005 8:45 am

Quoting IADLHR (Reply 3):
I hear that term administration, used in that context, what does that mean?
I have a feeling it means bankruptcy. I hope someone from the UK can clarify that for me. Many thanks.

Im no expert in such matter. I beleive this is basically where an independant administrator moves in and usualy administrates a companies assetts and sells/liquidates them. I stand to be corrected
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kc135topboom
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RE: Possible BA Disruption This Weekend?

Tue Aug 23, 2005 8:49 am

BA doesn't need this type of trouble, from their own union employees. I say, if they walk out over this contract with Gate Gourmet, then hire replacement workers for those positions. I'll bet it is a violation of the current union contract with BA. Of course the union can always claim ignorence, and they would be right  Wink
 
9V-SPJ
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RE: Possible BA Disruption This Weekend?

Tue Aug 23, 2005 8:59 am

This is not looking good for BA. As mentioned by others above, BA have until Tuesday (5pm BST) to agree on a new contract. If (I hope not) they don't agree, how long will the administrators wait for a new buyer? BA have said that they don't want to buy Gate Gourmet if this doesn't happen, but would they be forced to if a buyer is not found? What will they do with inflight catering?
I hope BA gets through this!!!

9V-SPJ
 
soups
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RE: Possible BA Disruption This Weekend?

Tue Aug 23, 2005 10:16 am

a bit out of subject
my brother flew today on ACC-LHR (then to lAX) and was informed that no hot food will be available on board due to the gate gourmet problems. does BA use gate gourmet also for all its return flights? even if point of departure is not LHR?
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IADLHR
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RE: Possible BA Disruption This Weekend?

Tue Aug 23, 2005 10:25 am

Soups,

BA uses different caterers on long hauls into LHR. However, upon arrival in LHR, there is no one to unload the ffood, used dishes etc. etc. Thus no measl into LHR either.
 
PanHAM
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RE: Possible BA Disruption This Weekend?

Tue Aug 23, 2005 3:32 pm

Yes, administration is basically bankruptcy, or a version of the US chapter 11. The company can continue to work but not under the past management, A court appointed administrator has the saying then and decides what happens with the company. That can be anything from restructuring to complete shut down.

No hot meals on a service from ACC to LOHR can also mean that "return catering" is loaded already on the inbound flight, This happens, when the quality and food safety standards at the outlying stations cannot be met.

The situation for BA is really bad at the moment. Whatever the choice is, they can only loose. But whatever the choice will be, they should make these unskilled workers who put them into the mess the losers in the long run. These people must not win.
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egmcman
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RE: Possible BA Disruption This Weekend?

Tue Aug 23, 2005 4:53 pm

Quoting 9V-SPJ (Reply 7):
This is not looking good for BA. As mentioned by others above, BA have until Tuesday (5pm BST) to agree on a new contract. If (I hope not) they don't agree, how long will the administrators wait for a new buyer? BA have said that they don't want to buy Gate Gourmet if this doesn't happen, but would they be forced to if a buyer is not found? What will they do with inflight catering?
I hope BA gets through this!!!

On the BBC this morning a BA Manager said that GG will have to provide them their catering even if under administration.

The only upside to this BA will have decided what it wants to do for the next few years with regards to catering.

Cheers
 
BCAL
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RE: Possible BA Disruption This Weekend?

Tue Aug 23, 2005 5:13 pm

Quoting IADLHR (Reply 3):
I hear that term administration, used in that context, what does that mean?
I have a feeling it means bankruptcy. I hope someone from the UK can clarify that for me. Many thanks

As far as the UK law on insolvency is concerned, when a company goes into administration, an administrative receiver is appointed under a debenture, usually by a bank or other lender. The administrative receiver is a licensed insolvency practitioner and can run the company's business and/or sell its assets, including the sale of the whole business as a going concern. Whilst the administrative receiver must call a meeting of unsecured creditors within 3 months of his appointment, he or she cannot agree or pay unsecured creditors' claims. If there is a surplus arising following the payment of the secured creditor and the preferential creditors, the company will usually be placed into Creditors' Voluntary Liquidation to enable a liquidator, who must be a licensed insolvency practitioner independent of the administrative receiver, to agree and pay unsecured creditors' claims.
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UALdispatch
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RE: Possible BA Disruption This Weekend?

Tue Aug 23, 2005 5:20 pm

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 6):
BA doesn't need this type of trouble, from their own union employees. I say, if they walk out over this contract with Gate Gourmet, then hire replacement workers for those positions. I'll bet it is a violation of the current union contract with BA. Of course the union can always claim ignorence, and they would be right

Perhaps BA should fly in some of the NW execs in to London to get some advice on how to get rid of employees. Maybe NW could spare a few Scabs and send them on a little trip to the UK. Or they could call 1-800-AIR-SCAB to get a few
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trekster
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RE: Possible BA Disruption This Weekend?

Tue Aug 23, 2005 5:28 pm

God i hope this dont happen again. Its all GG's fault. BA gave them a new contract a while back, but because they have done all this, they have mucked that all up.

I would realy like to talk the chief exec of that company at the moment. When he said "Nowt to do with us" during the strike's last week of BA staff, i really could have hit him. Its down to his company, and the crap way they are and have treated there workers that BA staff had to do something.

PRAY it dont happen again. We have pissed our passengers off already, not again pls
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scotron11
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RE: Possible BA Disruption This Weekend?

Tue Aug 23, 2005 7:21 pm

From what I've read, some of the work practices that go on at LHR is downright alarming.

Meiko industrial washers that clean meal trolleys? The German manufacturer stipulates that 3 workers are required to operate it. But working practices at GG dictate that at least 5 workers do.

GG delivery drivers? Paid between £25K-£30K per year (including overtime). If they finish early, they are permitted to put their "feet up" for the remainder of their shift. If a manager asks them to make more deliveries, the drivers can charge 2 1/2 overtime for every additional job they are asked to do! And some will only deliver to certain airlines!

Work breaks? GG's 2000 workforce are allowed 50 minutes of breaks a day(30mins lunch and 20mins tea break) plus 15mins toilet break. A worker starting at 0600 actually starts at 0620 because they are allowed 20mins to change into their uniforms. Instead of the shift finishing at 1400, it actually finishes at 1340, to allow staff to take off their uniforms! (Gleaned from the Telegraph)

What a mess!
 
BCAL
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RE: Possible BA Disruption This Weekend?

Tue Aug 23, 2005 10:34 pm

Quoting Trekster (Reply 14):
Its all GG's fault

Sorry, but I do not agree. If I book a ticket with BA, my contract is with BA, not with GG or whoever supplies goods/services to BA. If BA decides to out-source some of its services, then BA is responsible and accountable to me when things go wrong. I blame the BA management for their present predicament. Was "increased profits at all costs" so high on their agenda that they did not think of potential problems by engaging the services of a sole supplier? Did they not think what might happen if this company went bust or their staff go on strike? Did they not think it might keep a supplier on their toes, if the work was spread around several companies where each would then be competing against one another?

Look at GG. It is owned by Texas Pacific, a US-based venture company. They purchased GG from the bankrupt Swiss a few years back, obviously with the belief that they could acquire a company at a knock-down price, wait a few years and then sell it on at a highly inflated profit.

Now the directors of GG and Texas Pacific are not the type of businessmen that I would wish to deal with. CEO of GG is Dave Siegal, who was previously with US Airways when they were first under administration. Head of Texas Pacific is David Bonderman (the same Bonderman who is Chairman of FR?), and Frank Lorenzo's name is linked with the company.

There was an critique in the UK magazine "Private Eye", admitedly not the best source but still good for food for thought, when they quoted the following figures:

Quote:
£6.50 / hour - the wage of GG workers

650 - the number of sacked workers

£6,500,000 (the cost of David Bonderman's birthday party).

Need any more be said?

IMO the directors and owners of GG know they are in deep $£%&, their "corporate raid" has gone wrong, and they believe that the only way out is to blackmail BA. BA should call their bluff.

But in the process, passengers are inconvenienced. This is because BA management put too much faith in relying on a single supplier.
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RE: Possible BA Disruption This Weekend?

Tue Aug 23, 2005 10:43 pm

Bcal

I find your comments quite out of touch with what's actually happening.
For your information, BA outsourced to GG 8 years ago. 8. Not last year, or 2 years ago... 8 years.

No one else at LHR was and still isn't big enough to provide BA with its catering needs. So I ask you, what else could they do but contract the only company big enough to? Was this bad management? If you think so, I'd like to see what business school you studied at.

This mess is all down to a bunch of greedy Texans who run GG.
I thinks its a damn shame to try an pin this on BA.
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BCAL
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RE: Possible BA Disruption This Weekend?

Tue Aug 23, 2005 10:54 pm

Quoting GARPD (Reply 17):
BA outsourced to GG 8 years ago

When it was owned by Swiss. I stated that Texas Pacific acquired GG a few years ago.

Quoting GARPD (Reply 17):
No one else at LHR was and still isn't big enough to provide BA with its catering needs. So I ask you, what else could they do but contract the only company big enough to?

How about spreading it between several companies?

Quoting GARPD (Reply 17):
This mess is all down to a bunch of greedy Texans who run GG.

Totally agree!

Quoting GARPD (Reply 17):
thinks its a damn shame to try an pin this on BA

Me too, but if I book my flight with BA, my contract is with BA and not GG.
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garpd
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RE: Possible BA Disruption This Weekend?

Tue Aug 23, 2005 11:03 pm

Quoting BCAL (Reply 18):
How about spreading it between several companies?

the result of that will only be a confusing mess of contracts, deliveries, pick ups etc. Huge potentional for food to be delivered to the wrong flights etc. It would basically be a nightmare to administrate and get right. The costs would be phenomenal.

This to me is a far far worse decision that outsourcing to one company

Quoting BCAL (Reply 18):
Me too, but if I book my flight with BA, my contract is with BA and not GG.

Agreed. But you would hold BA at fault for freak weather conditions or French ATC strike etc? Would you hold them accountable for that?
Both example situations, like the present GG one, are completely outside BAs control.
Where do we draw the line for accountability?
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BCAL
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RE: Possible BA Disruption This Weekend?

Tue Aug 23, 2005 11:12 pm

>GARPD

Good arguments, and to an extent I agree with you.

Quoting GARPD (Reply 19):
This to me is a far far worse decision that outsourcing to one company

But a single supplier can bring you to your knees, so which is a better decision?

Quoting GARPD (Reply 19):
But you would hold BA at fault for freak weather conditions or French ATC strike etc? Would you hold them accountable for that?

No, but I would expect them to look after me (eg provide meals, keep me informed, etc) if my flight was due to take place in freak weather/French ATC strikes etc.
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blooBirdie
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RE: Possible BA Disruption This Weekend?

Tue Aug 23, 2005 11:16 pm

I would also expect BA to monitor conditions at their sole catering supplier at LHR and not let the situation get so far out of hand so quickly.


Surely a BA representative must have a say in - or at least be aware of - executive decisions at GateGourmet?
 
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garpd
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RE: Possible BA Disruption This Weekend?

Tue Aug 23, 2005 11:24 pm

Quoting BCAL (Reply 20):
But a single supplier can bring you to your knees, so which is a better decision?

Its like asking: "which came first, the chicken or the egg?"
Many airline contract to one food service. And up until the present, it has not provided any issue for BA.

Quoting BCAL (Reply 20):
No, but I would expect them to look after me (eg provide meals, keep me informed, etc) if my flight was due to take place in freak weather/French ATC strikes etc.

And they did keep people informed and looks after. Despite what the media may have reported. I've ready many comments from PAX caught up in the strike that were fed, watered and given accommodation or contacted while still at home to say don't bother coming to the airport because

Now as I'm sure you'll be aware, the strike was instant. No warning. Many thousand of Pax were already in LHR and more were coming. It is impossible to keep them all informed 100% of the time and there will be some who will get info second or third hand due to the sheer number of people that need to be informed. BA staff will have been doing the rounds informing everyone they can. But as the all myth goes, gossip spreads quicker in crowds.

The logistics of the mess the strike create is mind boggling.
BA could not make everyone happy. For every measure they take, some pax will always take offence.

Well, needless to say BA always do their utmost. But sometimes, with the mind bogglingly large numbers involved its just not possible to satisfy everyone.
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garpd
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RE: Possible BA Disruption This Weekend?

Tue Aug 23, 2005 11:26 pm

Quoting BlooBirdie (Reply 21):

Surely a BA representative must have a say in - or at least be aware of - executive decisions at GateGourmet?

Erm, no.
GG are an independant company. Perhaps and advisor was or could be appointed... but no exective rights.
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LH423
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RE: Possible BA Disruption This Weekend?

Tue Aug 23, 2005 11:32 pm

Quoting BCAL (Reply 20):
No, but I would expect them to look after me (eg provide meals, keep me informed, etc) if my flight was due to take place in freak weather/French ATC strikes etc.

In a case like that, why should BA be responsible for you. It's something completely out of their control. Much like, until the new EU laws came into effect, weather. You can't hold an airline responsible for something that's completely out of their control.

In this case, BA have been looking after their passengers. While not able to provide food onboard each BA station has been making provisions so passengers can be fed before the flight or given the option of taking food on board. The idea that BA is doing nothing is completely false. And BA's management has now learned that the reliance on a sole supplier for catering is no longer feasible and you can look for changes in that in the future. Don't forget, BA's hands are tied as well. The only option, in theory would be to truck catering in from LGW, which I doubt the LGW kitchen is capable of doing, not to mention the logistical nightmare that would be.

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trekster
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RE: Possible BA Disruption This Weekend?

Tue Aug 23, 2005 11:48 pm

Quoting BCAL (Reply 18):
How about spreading it between several companies

That would be fun. I think not

I'd like to know one airline based in the UK or US that has there own catering, and does not get it from a outside company. It saves money, and that i belive is what airlines want to do at the moment to keep prices as low as they can and still make money from sales. Outsorcing has worked well for BA till GG decided to go mess things up. Reading the news and Intranet at work, BA have tried everything they can to get this mess sorted, GG aint helping matters at all
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egmcman
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RE: Possible BA Disruption This Weekend?

Wed Aug 24, 2005 12:13 am

Quoting Trekster (Reply 25):
I'd like to know one airline based in the UK or US that has there own catering, and does not get it from a outside company. It saves money, and that i believe is what airlines want to do at the moment to keep prices as low as they can and still make money from sales. Outsourcing has worked well for BA till GG decided to go mess things up. Reading the news and Intranet at work, BA have tried everything they can to get this mess sorted, GG aint helping matters at all

According to the BBC this morning they said American carriers do there own catering. Perhaps some of our friends across the pond can say which carriers.
 
kanebear
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RE: Possible BA Disruption This Weekend?

Wed Aug 24, 2005 12:30 am

Quoting Trekster (Reply 25):
That would be fun. I think not

I'd like to know one airline based in the UK or US that has there own catering, and does not get it from a outside company. It saves money, and that i belive is what airlines want to do at the moment to keep prices as low as they can and still make money from sales. Outsorcing has worked well for BA till GG decided to go mess things up. Reading the news and Intranet at work, BA have tried everything they can to get this mess sorted, GG aint helping matters at all

Outsourcing is fine. Relying on a sole source supplier is not. I blame BA for this situation as at root they are at fault here. I am flabbergasted that a major international concern did not have the foresight to know that having one's eggs in the same basket is terribly poor business practice. In this case, instead of giving the whole contract to Gate Gourmet, they should've had a second (if not third) supplier. Contingency plans are a part of ANY business, and in such a business critical capacity (given the high revenue premium pax BA thrives on, this is even more critical than at other airlines as premium pax tend to want to be fed and watered) the possibility of supplier failure must be considered.

Employee actions aren't the only problem that can take a supplier down. What if GG had food contamination problems? Do you know how hard a Listeria or Salmonella contamination problem can be to trace down? It can take weeks. During that time, the entire facility can be rendered unusable. What about structural failure at the facility? Such a problem in a critical area could put GG out of business for months. All of the above would've meant the same result for BA, no catering.
 
BCAL
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RE: Possible BA Disruption This Weekend?

Wed Aug 24, 2005 12:50 am

Out of curiosity, does anyone know who does BA's catering at LGW, as I understand BA's Gatwick operations are not affected by the dispute.
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