British Airways call centre staff have been told to keep a record of complaints from passengers about staff criticisng the airline.

Staff have been asked to record complaints that involved cabin crew talking to customers about industrial action or making inappropriate comments about the company in earshot of passengers.

The memo to call centre employees, published by the Guardian, states: “The in-flight customer experience team would like to track details of when passengers have made complaints about our crew that are deemed serious enough to take disciplinary action.”

Managers told staff they were looking for examples of complaints that “would be suitable for feedback to the crew members”.  Which coincides with plans to communicate to flight attendants and other staff examples of “inappropriate comments” that should not be shared with passengers.

Employees were told complaints that qualify include those relating to racist remarks, inappropriate comments about passengers, swearing, adverse comments about BA, and inappropriate comments about strike action.

But the employer said examples of swearing, racism or inappropriate comments by cabin crew were extremely rare and the trial was not a disciplinary crackdown, instead it is intended to improve feedback between customers and staff.

However, some in the organization have suggested that the complaint logging is an effort by management to protect employees who do not back industrial action.

Pilots and cabin crew warned of low morale during the strikes and said that discussing the situation could lead to accusations from colleagues of bullying and harassment.

Unions have also accused BA of targeting union members with disciplinary action in an act of “union busting”. Such disciplinaries have been a sticking point in dispute negotiations.

Tony Woodley, Unite joint general secretary, said: “In recent weeks, these [disciplinary] suspensions have escalated, with two reps recently suspended simply for attempting to represent other crew facing disciplinary action.

“Around 80 crew have now been sacked or suspended, often for the most trivial reasons.”

He said disciplinary procedures were “being abused for purposes of trying to destroy trade unionism among cabin crew”.