The Unite trade union has warned
that a new strike ballot in the British Airways cabin crew dispute is
“inevitable”, with the Christmas holidays a potential target for
A mass meeting of BA flight
attendants at Kempton Park racecourse called for a new strike poll with the
intent of staging industrial action this autumn and winter.
Brendan Gold, Unite’s national
secretary for civil air transport, said a new ballot was likely due to three
outstanding issues: the imposition of changes to work practices; the sacking of
14 crew for alleged offences committed during the ongoing dispute; and the
withdrawal of staff travel perks from the estimated 6,700 crew who joined 22
days of walkouts this year.
A senior official with Unite’s main
cabin crew branch, Bassa, said the union could not prevent BA from using
auxiliary crew to operate planes during strikes, but it would try to dissuade
passengers from flying with BA by maintaining the threat of walkouts.
If a strike poll is held over the
next month and Unite secures a mandate for action from its 11,000 cabin crew
members, the union will have a 12-week window in which to stage walkouts –
opening up the possibility of disruption over the festive season. However, BA
is adamant that it will be able to operate 100 per cent of its schedule during
any strike and claims that support for sustained industrial action is waning
after fewer than half of Bassa members participated in a recent consultative
ballot that rejected a peace offer.
A BA spokesperson said: “We
have received no notification of any ballot for industrial action. Unite’s crew
branch Bassa has been talking about a ballot for the last three months. It does
not have the authority to call a ballot.