Another BA strike looming

Cabin
crew at British Airways have voted eight-to-one in favour of new strike action.

The
vote opens the possibility of strikes over Easter, although union sources have
previously played down the prospect of any April walk-out.

The
ballot was a re-run of an invalid vote held before Christmas.

The
row began about cost-cutting but now centres on travel concessions taken from
striking staff and disciplinary action against Unite union members.

The
latest ballot – the fourth in less than two years – saw 5, 811 Unite members
vote in favour of strike action while 1,170 voted against. The turnout was 72
per cent.

Len
McCluskey, Unite general secretary, said: “This vote shows that cabin crew
remain determined to win justice.

“We
urge BA’s boardroom to see this as a clear message that they must think again
about how to regain the trust and confidence of a significant part of their
cabin crew operation.”

Mr
McCluskey added that the union was still “in discussions” with BA in
an attempt to find a solution to the dispute.

BA
stressed the need to find a resolution to the dispute.

“This
is a time for co-operation, not confrontation,” BA said.

“We
began talks with Unite earlier this month, and those talks are continuing. We
hope they will bring an end to this dispute, which is what the overwhelming
majority of our cabin crew want.”

BA
has already said that, in the event of a strike, it will run all long-haul and
many short-haul flights.

The
dispute started in November 2009, when BA reduced the number of cabin crew on
some long-haul flights from 15 to 14, and introduced a two-year pay freeze from
2010.

This
led to a series of strikes in the spring and summer of last year.

Following
these strikes, BA removed the travel concessions of those who took part, with
some also facing disciplinary action.

It
is this action by BA that is now central to the dispute, Unite says.

It
wants the restoration of travel perks in full, arbitration through Acas of all
cabin crew disciplinary cases related to the dispute, and restoration of pay to
those who were genuinely sick during the dispute.

It
also wants a full discussion about how BA has handled industrial relations
within the company.

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