BA, Union Due To Resume Last-Ditch Strike Talks

January 29, 2007

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British Airways and its biggest union are due to resume talks on Monday in a last-ditch attempt to avert a 48 hour strike by cabin staff that could affect more than 140,000 passengers.

A spokesman for the Transport and General Workers' Union (T&G) said discussions, held at a secret location over the weekend, would start again on Monday.

Europe's third-largest airline has already cancelled around 1,300 flights this week in anticipation of the walkout planned for Tuesday and Wednesday.

The stoppage would affect more than 140,000 passengers and involve most flights to and from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports, with further disruption before and afterwards.

The row centers around BA's policy of sick-leave and pay.

The union, which says 96 percent of the cabin crew it represents are in favor of strike action, has threatened two further 72-hour stoppages in February unless an agreement can be reached.

BA says cabin crew were taking an average of 22 sick days per year before Chief Executive Willie Walsh took charge and that under a new absence policy the figure has fallen to 12 days.

Some 10,500 of BA's approximately 15,000 cabin crew are members of the T&G.

(Reuters)