25-May-2010 8:39 AM

British Airways enters second day of strike

British Airways stated it operated to 85% of its long-haul destinations and 100% of its short-haul destinations during the first day of cabin crew’s strike action on 24-May-2010 (Reuters, 24-May-2010). The carrier also stated that at 17:00, it had handled more than 60% of long-haul flights and more than 50% of short-haul flights from London Heathrow Airport, handling 70% of passengers (AFP, 24-May-2010). BA plans to continue operating at least at this level over the strike period. Services to Amsterdam, Glasgow, Paris, Manchester, Milan and Munich were among those most affected. London Gatwick and London City services were not affected. Based on the seven-day strike action Mar-2010, which cost the carrier GBP43 million, the present action could cost BA more than GBP100 million (Bloomberg, 24-May-2010).

BA stated there are no further negotiations with union, Unite, “on the horizon”. Unite Joint General Secretary, Tony Woodley, criticised BA CEO, Willie Walsh, for ignoring his offer to cancel the strike if the carrier restored cabin crew travel concessions. Striking cabin crew staff picketed outside Heathrow during the day.

British Airline Pilots' Association (BALPA) General Secretary, Jim McAuslan, meanwhile commented (24-May-2010) on reports that members of British Airways cabin crew are saying that a deal cannot be done with the carrier because the airline's pilots object to travel perks being restored to cabin crew, stating the claims are "nonsense". [more]

British Airways: “Our operations around the world have got off to a good start. The numbers of cabin crew reporting at Heathrow are currently at the levels we need to operate our published schedule. At Heathrow, our aim is to fly as many customers as we can during the strike period,” Company Statement. Source: AFP, 24-May-2010.

Unite: "I made an offer to Willie Walsh yesterday to put back our people's travel concessions that he has vindictively and foolishly taken away from them and I would personally call this strike off," Tony Woodley, Joint General Secretary. Source: Reuters, 24-May-2010.

British Airline Pilots' Association: "It is nonsense to claim that pilots are doing anything to prevent a settlement. Indeed, to avoid making a bad situation worse, we have stayed neutral throughout this dispute despite the huge damage to the company's reputation and the very real risk that it poses for the future of all employees. We have encouraged both sides to reach agreement and helped initiate the new coalition government's attempt to bring the two sides together. Such claims by some cabin crew members are a deliberate attempt to drive a wedge between the two communities - cabin crew and flight crew - at an already difficult time. The accusation is untrue and has been confirmed as such by Willie Walsh. Anyone who knows the CEO will know he is his own man and will not take instructions from one staff group against another. The claim also seeks to shift the blame for the lack of resolution to this dispute onto pilots' shoulders and away from where it should be. It is regrettable that the BASSA branch in Unite should resort to such tactics," Jim McAuslan, General Secretary. Source: British Airline Pilots' Association, 24-May-2010.

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