British Airways Strike Voted on by Cabin Crew

by Alfie FEATHERSTONE on February 23, 2010

The staff at British Airways has officially voted to have another strike, according to Unite leaders on Monday. The dispute over working conditions and pay has been going on between the carrier and union for months. Although this is the second ballot for industrial action, this will be the first strike to get the go ahead. The first was suppose to be imposed over Christmas but was canceled after the High Court found it to be illegal.

Unite announced that nearly 7,500 cabin crew out of the almost 9,500 who turned in their ballots voted in favor of the industrial action. The union is representative of around 12,000 British Airways cabin crew, which means that nearly 64% of those given a ballot said yes. Len McCluskey, Unite’s assistant general secretary, said that the cabin crew members are clearly showing the deep sense of injustice they feel over how they have been treated by the airline’s management. Although there were clearly less people in favor of this strike than the first, there are still many workers who are distraught over this whole thing.

The union said, however, that they will wait until after their members meet on Thursday before announcing a date for the strike. They will have to give British Airways a 7 day notice, but they have already ruled out striking during the Easter holiday, so passengers’ travel plans shouldn’t be disrupted.

The new strike action is a big victory for Unite, who doesn’t seem to be making any progress. They lost a court battle on Friday to overturn the changes British Airways introduced as cut costs. The union argued that the airline was in breach of staff contracts, as they didn’t properly consult the staff before introducing the changes. However, the airline fought back with an argument that the changes are necessary to fight falling demand.

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