UK Union To Pay Striking BA Cabin Crew

March 29, 2010

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The Unite union said on Monday it would raise GBP£700,000 pounds (USD$1 million) from its members to support striking British Airways cabin crew, staging a third day of industrial action and with no resolution in sight.

BA estimated the strike, the second this month, had so far cost about GBP£5.5 million a day, but said its profit outlook remained broadly unchanged.

A three-day stoppage earlier in the month cost the airline around GBP£7 million per day, BA said.

LEVY

The Unite union said a two percent levy would be placed on its branches for the next quarter to raise money to support the strikers, who walked out for the second time this month in a dispute over changes to working practices.

"We continue to search for a decent settlement in this dispute but cabin crew are not going to be driven back to work for lack of resources," Tony Woodley, Unite joint general secretary, said in a statement.

Unite, which represents about 90 percent of BA's 12,000 cabin crew, has threatened to call a third wave of industrial action after Easter if no progress is made, with crews likely to walk out again on April 14.

More than 120 BA flights from London's Heathrow Airport were cancelled on Monday, the BA website said, but all flights to and from London City and London Gatwick were operating normally.

BA said it had carried 37 percent more passengers during this strike period than the previous one, due to more cabin crew turning up for work.

"We are still on track to deliver our target of flying more than 75 percent of customers," a BA spokesman said.

Unite said only 359 cabin crew reported for work on Sunday, including 100 international employees who are not on strike, out of the 2,100 cabin crew rostered on a normal working day.

BA is aiming to save GBP£62.5 million a year to counter falling demand, volatile fuel prices and greater competition.

(Reuters)