British Airways strike announced

 The union representing British
Airways cabin crew has said its members will go on strike for three days from
20 March and for four days from 27 March.

The Unite union confirmed it would
not strike over Easter, but warned there could be further action after 14 April
if a resolution had not been agreed.

BA cabin crew are striking over
changes to pay and staffing levels imposed by the airline last November.

Another row has broken out between
BA and the union about a new offer.

In addition to strike action, the
union announced at a press conference that it would also ballot its members on
a new offer from BA tabled earlier this week, but said it would not recommend
it.

Although both sides reasserted that
they were available for further talks, the language on both sides has hardened
since the strikes were announced.

BA boss Willie Walshsaid the two parties were “not
close at all” to coming to an agreement.

The union’s proposals to save more
than $91 million at the loss-making airline included staff pay cuts that BA
described as “morally wrong”. Mr Walsh said Unite had failed to
provide any credible plan to date.

The union contended that it had
“made enormous strides and significant offers that meet the demands of
BA”.

Unite’s assistant general secretary
Len McCluskey said that the withdrawal of the offer showed that the airline’s
management was “bent on confrontation and never had any intention of an
agreement”.

BA said all flights to and from
London City Airport would be unaffected by strike action, as would all
long-haul flights from Gatwick.

Questions have been raised about
how many of the 7,500 cabin crew that voted for action last month will actually
go on strike.

BA has said that those taking part
will lose pay and perks, including no longer getting the right to buy
heavily-discounted tickets.

The airline has already made
extensive contingency plans in preparation for strike action.

It has already trained 1,000 staff
to work as cabin crew to cover for any striking workers.

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