BA and Unite clash over travel perks again

by Jessica MCILHINNEY on August 31, 2010

Despite things seemingly having been cleared up between Unite and British Airways, disputes have once again broken out between the airline and the labour union over its refusal to reinstate cabin crew travel perks in full.

Joint general secretary for Unite, Tony Woodley, sent out a letter to 11,000 BA flight attendants in the wake of the carrier telling staff members that it was aiming to resolve the dispute with a mediator – the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service. Now, Unite hopes to meet with BA again for more negotiations after accusing the airline of turning down its most recent proposal.

Currently, the predominant barrier to a peaceful resolution is BA’s refusal to fully re-issue travel benefits to the thousands of staff members that participated in the 22 walkouts earlier this year. BA, however, says that a resolution is being delayed by union intransigence.

Mr Woodley sent an email to all union members saying that the carrier had turned down any proposals that involved returning the travel perks and suggestions that Acas be involved in the disciplinary proceedings with staff. According to the email, Mr Woodley told cabin crew that the union had made helpful proposals for a joint reconciliation on all issues, but that the airline had declined all offers.

Both sides have clashed on debates involving disciplinary measures, which have become a sore spot for both the union and the airline. So far, 13 staff have been fired as a result of the disputes with BA insisting that it is within its internal parameters for disciplinary action as agreed previously with the union.

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