BA facing summer of strikes

Acas
is poised to try to arrange more talks between British Airways and the Unite
union, whose cabin crew members are on the third day of their latest five-day
strike.

The
conciliation service saw meetings last week break up without agreement.

Unite
says the strikes are costing the airline $10.2 million a day – but BA insists
most passengers are not being affected.

Unite
joint secretary Tony Woodley said the union may ballot for strike action to
continue into the summer.

He
gave the warning at Unite’s annual conference in Manchester, saying that a new
vote for additional strike action may be only a week or so away.

The
latest walkout coincides with the half-term holidays, and is set to be followed
by another five-day strike from 5 June.

If
no agreement is reached between BA and the union, and cabin crew workers vote
for more industrial action, these would be likely to start in July.

The
long-running dispute between Unite’s cabin crew workers and BA centres on jobs,
pay and working conditions.

Unite
is also demanding that BA reinstates the travel perks of striking workers, and
cancels disciplinary proceedings against others.

The
union has offered to call off the strikes if the travel concessions are put
back in place, ahead of agreeing a final deal.

Mr
Woodley told the Unite conference that its workers were standing up to BA’s
“bullying”.

“We
all know there is a deal to be struck, one that recognises the real commercial
needs and problems of the company as well as our members’ legitimate
interests,” he said.

“But
we are not and never will be prepared to see our members and our union
humiliated, victimised and reduced to ruins.”

He
further claimed that BA’s bosses were not interested in reaching an agreement.

“They
are trying to starve our members back to work,” said Mr Woodley.