British Airways strike to go ahead
British Airways staff plan to strike for three days from the 20 March and for four days from 27 March, with further action potentially coming after Easter.
Back in February Unite, the union involved in the industrial action, announced 7,400 British Airways cabin crew voted in favour of industrial action. Staff are angry about cost-cutting measures and new employee contracts introduced last November.
However, the union says it will not strike over the Easter period. A previous 12-day strike planned for the busy Christmas and New Year period was called off after the High Court found the balloting process was illegal.
The negative reaction from the media and the general public is believed to have persuaded Unite to avoid any action over the Easter period.
However, both the proposed strike dates are at weekends so will affect leisure travellers more than business travellers. Bob Atkinson, travel expert at Travelsupermarket.com, also points out that the latter date may well affect many people taking a two-week trip over Easter.
Len McCluskey, assistant general secretary at Unite, says talks with British Airways have reached a conclusion without a satisfactory resolution. Although the airline did make an offer, McCluskey says it was unable to recommend this to its members – and, as such, strikes will go ahead.
“[We are therefore] setting strike dates in accordance with the mandate the union has twice overwhelmingly secured from our members,” he says.
Strikes are planned for 20 to 22 and 27 to 30 of March. “There will be no strikes over the Easter period, as we already promised, but further industrial action will be called to take place after April 14 if the dispute has not been resolved,” McCluskey adds.
British Airways has now announced plans to ensure minimise disruption to passengers.
"We are very sorry for the stress and disruption Unite's decision will cause," the airline says in a statement. "All our flights are operating normally at the moment."
Unite says cabin crew will be given the opportunity to consider the formal offer from British Airways - however, it refuses to recommend they accept it, claiming it "falls short" of addressing its concerns.
Unite will hold a consultative ballot of its cabin crew members - a result is expected by the middle of next week.