11-May-2010 10:23 AM

Cabin crew announce further BA strike dates

British Airways union, Unite, announced (10-May-2010) plans to hold a further 20 days of strike action for cabin crew staff following their rejection of the carrier’s offer last week. Crew plans to strike on the following days:

  • 18-May-2010 to 22-May-2010;
  • 24-May-2010 to 28-May-2010;
  • 30-May-2010 to 03-Jun-2010;
  • 05-Jun-2010 to 09-Jun-2010. [more]

81% of balloted cabin crew members voted in favour of the action (Bloomberg, 10-May-2010). Unite is also intending to hold a further industrial action ballot over issues which have arisen from the company’s conduct during the dispute.

British Airways responded stating (10-May-2010) it is saddened but not surprised that Unite has announced further plans for extensive disruption for potentially hundreds of thousands of customers over a busy period that includes the May half-term holidays. The action could also affect passengers travelling to South Africa for the 2010 World Cup (BBC News, 10-May-2010). The carrier stated due to support from cabin crew based at London Gatwick Airport, all flights to and from the airport will operate as normal during the strikes. Flights at London City Airport will also be unaffected. At London Heathrow Airport, BA plans to operate a substantial part of its long-haul schedule and there will be a number of daily flights to every destination across its short-haul network. BA is in talks with a number of carriers about leasing extra aircraft to support its short-haul schedule and obtaining thousands of seats from other airlines to help customers rebook if their original flight is cancelled. The carrier plans to give more details four or five days before the strike is due for its revised Heathrow schedule. BA previously estimated the seven-day strike in Mar-2010 cost the carrier GBP45 million (Reuters, 10-May-2010). [more]

British Airline Pilots' Association (BALPA) General Secretary, Jim McAuslan, stated (10-May-2010) the announcement of further strikes is "disappointing" and called on BA and Unite to resume negotiations. Pilots will be working normally throughout any strike and will ensure professional service is maintained. [more]

Unite: “Passengers and investors alike will be dismayed that British Airways' management rejected an approach by the union over the weekend, after their offer had been comprehensively turned down by their own employees. Cabin crew are left with no choice but to take further strike action. There can be no industrial peace without meaningful negotiations and while management victimises trade unionists and uses disciplinary procedures in a witch-hunt. The seven days notice period is sufficient time for BA management to do the sensible thing and reopen meaningful negotiations,” Derek Simpson and Tony Woodley, Joint General Secretaries. Source: Unite, 10-May-2010.

British Airways: "The decision has no semblance of justification. Unite’s officials continue to operate in their own world, showing callous disregard for our customers and their own members in all parts of our airline. We have made a very fair offer, which meets the concerns the union raised during 14 months of negotiations and also ensures that our crew remain the best rewarded in the UK airline industry. That offer remains available. We are confident that many crew will again ignore Unite’s pointless strike call and support the efforts of the rest of the airline to keep our customers flying," Company Statement. Source: British Airways, 10-May-2010.

BALPA: "Today's announcement of further strikes in BA is disappointing given the continuing uncertainty in our industry caused by volcanic ash and an economy emerging from recession. Even at this late stage we call on both sides to work together to find a solution and BALPA stands ready to offer any help it can to achieve that. Pilots are not in dispute with the company, having already agreed an annual savings plan of GBP25 million per year and seen this overwhelmingly endorsed in a membership ballot. BA pilots, like other groups in the airline, have made a sacrifice to help BA through economic difficulties which have been made worse, of course, by the additional problems of volcanic ash. We feel it is for all groups within BA to make a contribution. Pilot representatives will be meeting later this week to review this worsening position which has the potential to sour working relations between BA and its cabin crew for years to come," Jim McAuslan, General Secretary. Source: BALPA, 10-May-2010.

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