BA prepares for strikes

British Airways will fly about 60
per cent of its customers, even if cabin crew go ahead with their planned
strike this weekend.

All flights to and from London City
airport and all long haul services to and from Gatwick will continue to operate
normally throughout any strike.

BA said that it has also
rescheduled some services for strikes being arranged for beyond the weekend.

Earlier, Prime Minister Gordon
Brown condemned the planned strike.

Unite insists that it is for BA to
make the next move by re-instating the settlement offer that the airline
withdrew on Friday.

BA pulled its offer after the
airline said it was conditional on strike action being averted.

The offer had included commitments
on working hours and annual pay rises in exchange for the cabin crew workers
agreeing to the BA’s planned $95 million of cost cuts.

“Put the offer back on the
table and we will look sensibly at suspending the strike,” Mr Woodley said
in a BBC interview.

“At the moment BA don’t want
to consult. They want war,” he said.

The dispute is over reduced
staffing levels and pay at the airline, with the first strike scheduled to
start on 20 March.

Lord Adonis, transport secretary,
called on “the union to lift the threat of a strike and get back to the
negotiating table saying “passengers should not be held to ransom” by
the Unite union.

Tony Woodley, joint leader of
Unite, condemned what he said were Government attacks on union members.

“It is rather unfortunate that the
government of all shapes and sizes always want to kick the unions and kick the
employees when in actual fact it’s my members who’ve been kicked here,” he
said.

Mr Woodley was particularly
critical of Lord Adonis, saying: “For an unelected person who hasn’t got a
clue about this dispute, it would have been wiser for him to have kept his
counsel.

“He’s got no
industrial experience whatsoever.”

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