Union issues warning to BA

British
Airways cabin crew will be balloted on fresh strikes if there is no progress
towards a solution by next week, the Unite union has said.

The
crew have staged 22 days of strike action this year in the dispute which now
involves the withdrawal of travel concessions from striking workers.

Recent
talks between the two parties have failed to break the deadlock.

BA
said Unite had demonstrated a “selfish lack of concern for our customers
and their own colleagues”.

Unite
said that it was giving BA until Tuesday, 29 June to “demonstrate that it
is willing to negotiate a solution to the fresh issues between the parties – or
will ballot its members for strike action”.

It
said the new issues under dispute were threefold: BA’s use of other employees
to cover as cabin crew; the removal of travel perks from crew who went on
strike; and “vindictive, disproportionate and unnecessary disciplinary action”
taken by BA against some of its crew members.

“Once
again, we say to BA: Do not seek conflict,” said Brian Boyd, Unite
national officer for civil aviation.

“Drop
the tough talk and work with us to deliver the change needed for the future and
preserve the standards associated with this great airline.”

But
in the continuing war of words between the two parties, BA countered by saying
that Unite’s “apparent wish to target the summer holidays of tens of
thousands of families is deplorable”.

It
reiterated its determination to fly more of its customers during any future
strikes.

“We
will strengthen our contingency plans and aim to fly from Heathrow 100 per cent
of long-haul operations and a substantial proportion of short-haul
services”.

BA
said there would be a full service from Gatwick and London City.

The
industrial action taken by cabin crew this year has already cost the airline an
estimated $223 million.