British Airways Cabin Crew Strike Off

January 30, 2007

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British Airways said on Monday a 48 hour strike by cabin crew members of its largest union had been canceled, although it still expected disruptions for thousands of passengers this week.

"Negotiations with the T&G (union) have resulted in an agreement that removes the threat of strikes," Chief Executive Willie Walsh said in a statement, adding BA would reinstate as many canceled flights as possible.

Last week, the Transport and General Workers' Union (T&G) called a 48 hour strike by cabin crew from Tuesday unless there was agreement on issues which include sick-leave policy and pay. The T&G threatened two further 72 hour strikes in February.

The T&G said on Monday it had won a 4.6 percent pay deal for its members at BA, and a pay rise equal to Britain's RPI measure of inflation for next year.

Walsh said: "Unfortunately, the decision (to call off the strike) has come too late to prevent disruption to the travel plans of tens of thousands of our customers tomorrow (Tuesday) and Wednesday".

BA, which last Thursday canceled 1,300 flights scheduled for this week, said it had reinstated all long-haul flights that had been canceled.

The dispute with the union involves BA's sick-leave policy and its two pay scales for cabin staff.

BA says cabin crew were taking an average of 22 sick days per year before Walsh took charge in October 2005 and that under a new absence policy the figure had fallen to 12 days.

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

(Reuters)