BA strike: More services than planned

 British
Airways has said it operated more services than planned as cabin crew began a
second five-day strike.The airline said it had
reintroduced all services from Heathrow to New York’s JFK airport and would add
more.

 It insisted its operations went
“very well” during last week’s action and that it had made another
“good start”.

 The Unite union claimed BA
cancelled more than 100 flights on Sunday and said its strikes continued to be
strongly supported.Unite has said it would suspend
industrial action if BA restored travel perks it took from those cabin crew who
went on strike in March.

 The latest walkout coincides with
the half-term holidays, and could be followed by more action starting on 5
June.

 A BA spokesperson said: “Our
global operations went very well throughout the first week of Unite’s strike
action and got off to another good start today.”We have announced a larger
schedule at Heathrow for this round of strikes, because of the numbers of crew
reporting for work.”We will continue to operate
100% of our schedule at Gatwick and London City airports.

 “At Heathrow, we will operate
to more than 70% of longhaul flights (up from more than 60% last week) and more
than 55% of shorthaul flights (up from more than 50% last week).”

 Negotiations ended without
agreement on Friday, with Unite blaming BA’s chief executive Willie Walsh for
the deadlock.Conciliation service Acas will be
contacting both sides to arrange further talks.

BA says the strike has cost it
about £85m – an average of £6m for each of the 15 strike days so far.

 ‘Anytime, anywhere’

 The dispute is set to dominate
Unite’s annual conference in Manchester, where about 700 delegates will gather
on Monday.The union’s joint leader Derek
Simpson said he was prepared to meet “anytime, anywhere” to continue
discussions. But he told the BBC Mr Walsh was
“prepared to let the strike run without any attempt, casual or otherwise”
to resolve it.

 BA denied this, saying their chief
executive had made it clear he was prepared to go to Manchester to continue
negotiations.Mr Simpson claimed the airline was
being “unreasonable” by refusing to reinstate the travel allowances,
saying this had caused a loss of confidence among workers.

 “We’ve been doing all we can
to build that confidence back but it’s very difficult,” he said.”If we could get the confidence
back and if we could get the travel allowances back, I believe a deal is
doable.”I think Willie Walsh believes
a deal is do-able but he seems to be intent on regime change [within the
stewards branch of the union], wanting to punish the workforce.”He knows full well our people
are not going to go back humiliated or punished after the dispute is
settled.”

 BA staff returned to work for one
day between the two strike periods, but the airline said that although the
“vast majority” of flights were operating it was impossible to run a
full service.

 Unite claimed 102 BA flights were
cancelled on Sunday – including 22 long-haul flights.

 A BA spokeswoman said because most
leisure flights fly out of Gatwick rather than Heathrow, the disruption to half
term holidays would be limited.

 

 

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