A few years ago we had a very surpervisor-centric set up on board our long haul flights. On each 747 for instance with a crew complement of 15, we had one Cabin Service Director (CSD), FOUR Pursers and ten cabin crew. Today on a 747 we have one CSD and two Pursers. Despite the complement of Pursers being halved on board we still have the same amount of Pursers employed. Separately, the total sum work available to those employed as Pursers (or CSD's or main crew) on the so called old contract 'Legacy Fleet' has reduced as work (specific routes) begin to transfer to the new 'Mixed Fleet' - crew on a drastically cheaper salary and with different rank structure (there is no 'Purser' role on Mixed Fleet).
had counted on the numbers balancing themselves out between the fleets by offering periods of unpaid leave, part-time contracts and natural attrition. And with the particularly acute situation with an over-supply of Pursers for some time Pursers have been able to volunteer to 'work down' as main Cabin Crew for a period of time while retaining their Purser salary and position to return to.
On Eurofleet (shorthaul) the situation is slightly different. When the bulk of the shorthaul fleet was made up 767's and 757's there were two supervisory positions onboard, like longhaul. Each 757 or 767 required a CSD to be the in-charge crew member. The 757's are now (sadly) long gone along with the agreement to have a CSD as the in-charge crew member. The 767's are also becoming fewer and fewer on shorthaul. When the A320 launched BA
stated this aircraft would be a 'single supervisory' aircraft. In other words just one senior crew member on board - either a CSD or a Purser. Recruitment for CSD has not happened on short-haul for about ten years now and those that have retained their CSD position and not transferred to longhaul have seen their work dwindle.
Last years budget for the Inflight Services department did not provide to offer voluntary redundancy. The 2013 budget has just been announced with the provision to offer limited amounts of voluntary redundancy.
The reality is for each full time 'Legacy Fleet' Purser that leaves the company BA
will be able to recruit 2.5 new main crew on 'Mixed Fleet'. A Purser is also paid nearly twice what a 'Cabin Service Manager' (the CSD MF
equivalent) is paid on Mixed Fleet.
The offer of voluntary redundancy is being viewed as a pretty positive thing in the crew community. There are quite a lot of crew that have wanted to leave the business for some time but have been hanging on until such an offer came up.