Union, British Airways tussle over cabin crew strike impact

The union for striking British Airways cabin crew said the impact of the latest stoppage was more severe than BA has said.

Union, British Airways tussle over cabin crew strike impact

The union for striking British Airways cabin crew on Tuesday said the impact of the latest stoppage was more severe than BA has said, as another day passed without a sign of fresh talks to end the dispute.

BA says it is "always available for talks" while a union spokeswoman said it was working on resuming talks, but nothing was fixed yet.

The Unite union, representing cabin crew in their second day of a five-day strike over pay and benefits, has threatened two more five-day strikes if there is no resolution. BA cabin crew also held walk outs in March.

Unite said some 68 percent of long-haul flights and only 59 percent of short haul routes were running on Tuesday, similar to numbers compiled by the union a day earlier.

It said the figures, which are for BA operations at its hub at Heathrow, Britain's biggest airport, suggested "crew support for (the) strike is building".

BA, which is trying to cut costs to compensate for increased competition, volatile fuel prices and falling demand, gave no data for Tuesday, but on Monday said flights were little affected.

"We do not recognise the statistics that Unite has issued," a BA spokeswoman said, adding that the company was adding more flights because the strike's impact was lower than expected.

The company said it was able to run 85 percent of its long-haul routes and all of its short-haul flights on Monday.

BA, which flies to over 300 destinations every day, said it had leased eight aircraft with pilots and cabin crews from other airlines to keep passengers on the move, part of contingency plans to fly 70 percent of booked customers during the strike.

The union says its strike costs BA 7 million pounds ($10 million) a day. Seven days of strikes in March cost the airline 43 million pounds.

Talks between BA and Unite have been acrimonious. BA's court injunction on Unite's latest strike was overturned last week amd subsequent talks between the two sides ended in chaos over the weekend when left-wing protesters stormed the negotiations.

The main sticking point in recent talks has been cabin crew travel perks. Analysts say that further strikes may put passengers off from flying with BA.

Reuters

Last Mod: 25 Mayıs 2010, 22:15
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