More strikes loom for BA

BRITISH Airways (BA) looks set for further strikes as the union of its cabin crew, Unite, prepares for another ballot of its members. Should they vote yes, it will leave BA suffering from another 12 weeks of disruptions to its service.

Negotiations have progressed past pay and are now stuck on the withdrawn travel perks of those crew that illegally went on strike late last year. BA, which is struggling with it’s massive pension deficit and slumping demand, wants widespread cuts to some of the industries most generous salaries and working conditions.

Senior management have refused their annual bonuses for the second year in a row while BA battles for survival.

Chief executive officer, Willie Walsh (right), said in BA’s annual report: “I regret that we found ourselves at loggerheads with very valued members of staff at a critical time.

“When we have had the chance to explain our proposals directly, many understand what our agenda is really about – to secure jobs in the airline and put the business on a footing where it can achieve the growth it needs to survive long-term.

“They understand that, without change, British Airways will just shrink and shrink and shrink.”

A BA spokesperson said: “As the strikes have progressed, we have upped the schedule. On May 24, when the strike began, it was 60 per cent of long haul. That went up to 70 per cent in the second tranche. It’s now 80 per cent in this final set. Likewise in short haul we’ve gone up from 50 per cent to 55 per cent to 60 per cent.

“As we understand how many cabin crew are reporting for work as normal, we can continue to add to our schedule. We also have a large number of volunteer cabin crew and they can supplement in any way we need them to.”

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