BA crew start voting on dispute offering

by Alister POOLE on June 1, 2011

Members of British Airways’ cabin crew have started voting on a proposed deal that might bring an end to a long-standing dispute with their airline.

To allow their members to vote, trade union Unite sent out roughly 10,000 ballot papers, recommending a universal vote of ‘yes’ in order to resolve a quarrel that has lasted two years.

The agreement will restore travel concessions for the 6,700 members of the union who had their travel perks withdrawn upon taking part in 2010’s 22-day strike. The agreement, if brought in, will also provide members with a new two-year pay deal and they have until the 22nd of June to decide how they are going to vote.

In the meantime, Spanish national airline Iberia is rumoured to be facing increasing pressure from the main Spanish pilots’ union Sepla, a group that is planning widespread strikes for later on in the week.  Iberia merged with BA to form the new International Airlines Group last year - an operation that is headed by ex-BA chief Willie Walsh. The current dispute on Spanish soil stems from Iberia’s most recent announcement that it is set to outsource 10% of short-haul flights to much lower-cost alternatives such as Vueling - which notably Iberia owns at least a 45% controlling stake of.

Sepla says that it is moer than willing to make sure pay cuts are accepted however Iberia - facing competition from easyJet and Ryanair on their short-haul operations - has this far refused this concession. The discussions will continue.

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