BA call for peace

The chief executive of British
Airways has declared the latest cabin crew strike a failure and called on the
Unite union to “give peace a chance”.

Willie Walsh said that with more
than 75 per cent of BA customers still flying and over 60 per cent of cabin
crew still working, the series of strikes should now stop.

He made his comments in an open
letter to Tony Woodley, joint general secretary of Unite.

Mr Woodley later said no decision
had been made on further strike action.

“I would like to think… that
ultimately we can get a settlement that means we don’t have any more
disputes,” Mr Woodley said.

Unite has said it will not strike
over the next two weeks, giving at least two weeks to try to reach an
agreement. However, there are currently no plans for peace talks.

Both men wrote open letters to each
other, published in the Daily Mirror newspaper.

Mr Walsh repeated calls for Unite
to put BA’s latest settlement proposals to a vote of union members.

This offer was rejected by the
union leadership almost two weeks ago, because Unite said it was even worse
than the original peace proposals that prompted the strikes.

The BA chief ended his letter with
a personal plea to Mr Woodley. “I have great respect for you. I know you
don’t want more strikes. I know you want a settlement,” Mr Walsh wrote.

Mr Woodley threw the blame back on
the airline. “Both BA’s image and its bank balance have suffered because
the company did not listen to what its own employees were telling it – and then
act to avert the disruption,” he wrote.

But he said that the two sides
should try to build on the “common ground” that exists between them.
“We accept that BA needs to cut costs to survive.”

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