British Airways crew approves days of strike

British Airways cabin crew are to hold 20 days of strike action in a long-running dispute over pay and working conditions, the Unite union said.

British Airways crew approves days of strike

British Airways cabin crew are to hold 20 days of strike action in a long-running dispute over pay and working conditions, the Unite union said on Monday.

BA said it aimed to operate a substantial part of its scheduled longhaul services and flights from two London airports would be unaffected.

The action, to be staged over a four-week period, will be the third wave of strikes by BA staff this year. Walkouts in March caused chaos for passengers over the busy Easter holiday period and cost the company millions of pounds.

Unite said the first strikes would begin on May 18 and run until May 22. Then there will be further walkouts on May 24-28, May 30-June 3 and June 5-9.

"Passengers and investors alike will be dismayed that British Airways management rejected an approach by the union over the weekend, after their offer had been comprehensively turned down by their own employees," Unite's joint General Secretaries Derek Simpson and Tony Woodley said in a statement.

"Cabin crew are left with no choice but to take further strike action," they said, adding the seven days until the first strike gave BA bosses sufficient time to reopen negotiations.

Unite said it would also hold a further ballot of BA cabin crew for industrial action over issues arising from the company's conduct during the dispute.

The union, which represents about 90 percent of BA's 12,000 cabin crew, said 81 percent of those balloted had voted against BA's latest offer last week.

However, BA said: "We are confident that many crew will again ignore Unite's pointless strike call and support the efforts of the rest of the airline to keep our customers flying."

It said flights from London Gatwick and London City airports would be unaffected, and it aimed to operate much of its longhaul services from London Heathrow.

"We are speaking to a number of carriers about leasing in extra aircraft to support our shorthaul schedule and also obtaining thousands of seats from other airlines to help our customers rebook if their original flight is cancelled," BA said, adding details of the revised Heathrow schedule would be announced four or five days before the strike begins.

BA, which last month sealed its long-awaited merger with Spain's Iberia, is aiming to save 62.5 million pounds ($97 million) a year to counter falling demand, volatile fuel prices and greater competition.

It has estimated the seven days of walkouts in March cost it 45 million pounds and that last month's volcano ash-related disruption cost it around 20 million a day in revenue..


Reuters

Last Mod: 11 Mayıs 2010, 11:53
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