Voting papers are being sent out to more than 10,000 BA cabin crew, as, in the words of the Unite union, “the dispute between the parties deepens”.
Members have until January 21 to vote in the latest ballot, which Unite says surrounds five issues which “would cost BA not a single penny to resolve”. Announcing the launch of the ballot, Tony Woodley, Unite joint general secretary, said:
"When this dispute started, the issue was making savings to help the company through a very difficult period for the industry. The union offered multi-million pound concessions which all but met management’s requirements. BA however preferred imposition, provoking a dispute which has cost the company vastly greater sums and done great damage to its reputation.
“The dispute has been prolonged by vindictive measures directed against cabin crew - in recent months, BA has put nearly 70 loyal workers through hell and sacked 13 of them because they supported their union. This is surely unprecedented in modern day British corporate life.
"We have made every effort in prolonged negotiations with management to find an acceptable resolution to the outstanding problems but sadly find that we must now conduct a fresh ballot in order to defend our members.
"BA knows what it must to do stop this dispute from escalating. The issues between us would cost BA not a single penny to resolve. It is now a matter of them showing the leadership to get back round the table with us to settle this through negotiation."
When the fresh ballot was announced earlier this month BA said that Unite had “reneged” on a deal struck in October, and added that “industrial action would be a grossly disproportionate response to the issues that Unite continues to press”.
The carrier says that should further strike action take place it aims to run 100 per cent of long-haul operations and “a substantial proportion” of short-haul flights at Heathrow, as well as normal timetables at London City and Gatwick airports.
Unite’s five outstanding issues:
- The immediate restoration of staff travel concessions, in full, to the crew from whom they were taken by BA.
- Binding arbitration, through ACAS, of all cabin crew disciplinary cases related to the original dispute.
- The restoration of all earnings docked from crew who were genuinely off sick during strike dates.
- Full and proper discussion of the trade union facilities agreement at the company with the immediate removal of all threats and sanctions made by BA in relation to this.
- The introduction of mixed fleet on different terms and conditions without the agreement of the trade union.