British Airways braces for possible further strikes

by Tiffany Millar on June 23, 2010

As British Airways braces for more strikes, the Unite union is expected to announce whether or not it will hold a ballot soon.

In the ongoing struggle between the carrier and its cabin crew members, the turmoil could continue further if BA does not agree to fully restore workers travel perks. The latest round of strikes centres around BA’s revoking of travel privileges from staff that participated in a series of walkouts back in March. The original dispute began when the airline cut staffing levels during the recession to save money.

BA has proposed to the union a reinstatement of some travel benefits, but will not restore seniority, which allows cabin crew members that have been with the carrier longer to have priority. However, Unite says an agreement will not be reached unless the airline restores all travel concessions.

At present, the union is proposing another ballot for its 11,000 members. Should cabin crews vote for industrial action, the airline could be faced with a third wave of walkouts during a seven month period.

However, should the ballot pass, the earliest strikes are not expected until 3 August, says the union. Both previous ballots since December have been in favour of industrial action. Should the upcoming ballot succeed, strikes would be held during the peak of summer holidays.

Negotiations between both sides have been slow going with constant set backs leading to further discord between both the cabin crews and the airline. Willie Walsh, BA boss, has spoken out against the strikes saying they are crippling the airline at a time when it is already struggling with the current economic climate.

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