BA crew announce strike, Lufthansa pilots’ stalls

BRITISH Airways (BA) cabin crew have voted for a strike over demands for pay and better working conditions.

The crews’ union, Unite, says that no dates for the strike will be announced until BA resumes negotiations, but, failing that, it has said that any action would happen “sooner rather than later” although it has promised not to strike over the busy Easter holidays starting on 2 April. Under strike rules, the union must give a week’s notice, so the earliest it could go ahead is from the first of March.

Not only is the start date of the strike uncertain, but the duration is as well, with rumours that some hardliner BA staff are threatening to strike for 10 days, instead of the expected

Len McCluskey, the union’s general secretary, said the ballot result was “a clear indication of the deep sense of grievance that our members feel. We can only hope that BA management will now recognise the only way to resolve this is through negotiation, not through litigation and certainly not through intimidation”.

BA made a pre-tax loss of £50 million (US$79 million) in the final calendar quarter of 2009, and £122 million in 2008. To counter its growing losses it reduced the number of cabin crew on long-haul flights from 15 to 14 and froze pay for two years.

Meanwhile, Lufthansa pilots’ strike has been suspended less than 24 hours after it started, with union officials agreeing to resume negotiations with Lufthansa management. The union said that there is now no likelihood of further action until 9 March at the earliest.

The carrier said that the strike would cost it €25 million ($34 million) a day.

Elsewhere, in France, a five-day strike of air traffic controllers has forced flights to be cancelled at the two main Paris airports. A quarter of flights at Charles de Gaulle have been cancelled as have half of those at Orly.

 

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