Unite announces BA fresh ballot

18 Jan 2010 by Mark Caswell

The poll is expected to take place next week. If staff vote in favour it is believed a strike could take place as early as the first week of March.

Union officials said intensive discussions with BA bosses had found no resolution to the long-running dispute, but insisted talks would continue.

Unite had called a 12-day strike in December, only to have the High Court grant BA an injunction after the voting process was deemed to have contravened industrial relations law.

Staff called for the industrial action after BA chief executive, Willie Walsh reduced the number of cabin crew on long-haul flights from 16 to 14 and introduced wage caps for existing staff and lower starting salaries for new starters.

Len McCluskey, assistant general secretary of Unite, said “We have to honour our commitment to give our members the voice they were denied by the courts before Christmas, and hold a fresh ballot for industrial action.”

BA said it was “saddended but not surprised” to learn that Unite had called another strike ballot.

A statement from the airline read: “Unite’s decision, foreshadowed in a letter to cabin crew on January 8, calls into question its good faith in the negotiations we took part in throughout last week in an effort to reach a settlement without disruption. Nonetheless, we remain available for talks at any time without preconditions.

“If Unite eventually proceeds to an actual strike, we will continue to put our customers’ interests first. We will provide assistance for those crew who wish to work normally and we will explore all options to enable us to operate the best flying programme possible under the circumstances.”

BA said it would not allow Unite to “ruin” the airline, claiming it had the support of customers and the vast majority of its staff.

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Report by Martin Ferguson

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