BA strikes underway

Thousands more British Airways
passengers face a second day of cancelled or disrupted trips as cabin crew
continue a five-day strike.

Many flights in and out of London’s
Heathrow Airport – BA’s main hub – were axed on Monday, with knock-on effects

BA said it operated 60 per cent of
long-haul flights from Heathrow and 50 per cent of short-haul.

It said Gatwick and London City
airport were both unaffected.

The airline added that it had flown
to 85 per cent of its long-haul destinations and 100 per cent of its short-haul

The dispute is over pay, conditions
and perks.

BA has accused union leaders of
failing to take up an offer of further talks.

The airline said it was
disappointed Unite had resorted to “negotiation through the media”.

The Unite union is demanding the
restoration of travel concessions to staff who took part in the last series of
stoppages in March.

Unite’s joint general secretary
Tony Woodley said the strike would have been suspended if those perks had been

But BA said it had already agreed
to do so once its deal was accepted in full.

Mr Woodley also accused BA boss
Willie Walsh of wanting “regime change” at Bassa, the Unite branch
representing crew.

Meanwhile, BA pilots have become
embroiled in the dispute.

There have been suggestions from
some cabin crew that a deal could not be done because pilots objected to travel
perks being restored to staff who went on strike in March.

Jim McAuslan, general secretary of
the British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa), said: “It is nonsense to
claim that pilots are doing anything to prevent a settlement.

“Indeed, to avoid making a bad
situation worse, we have stayed neutral throughout this dispute despite the
huge damage to the company’s reputation and the very real risk that it poses
for the future of all employees.

“We have encouraged both sides
to reach agreement,” Mr McAuslan added.