British Airways Strike Nears End

March 30, 2010

Bookmark and Share

British Airways cabin crew entered their final day of strikes on Tuesday, as unions and the airline's management called for renewed negotiations to avoid further industrial action.

The Unite union, which represents 90 percent of BA's 12,000 cabin crew, has threatened to announce further strike dates if no progress is made in the dispute over pay and jobs, but has promised no action until after the Easter break.

The four-day strike by cabin crew, due to end at midnight, follows a three day stoppage last week.

In an open letter to Unite joint General Secretary Tony Woodley, published in the Daily Mirror newspaper, BA chief executive Willie Walsh said the walkout had failed. The airline had flown more than 75 percent of passengers, he said, and 60 percent of cabin crew had turned up for work.

Walsh called on Woodley to get his members to vote on an offer made by BA management 10 days ago, before the strikes.

"I know you want a settlement," he wrote. "You and I may have different views on this offer. But surely the most important views are those of the crew themselves... let the members have a say, Tony. Put the offer to the vote."

Walsh had earlier removed a higher offer, saying it had been conditional on Unite not naming any strike days.

BA said on Monday the second wave of industrial action had so far cost about GBP£5.5 million pounds a day, lower than the GBP£7 million daily estimate it gave for the first strike. It added that its profit outlook remained unchanged.

Woodley, also writing an open letter in the paper, called on the airline's management to come back to the negotiating table.

"Common sense now demands that Unite and BA get around a table and thrash out a deal that satisfies both parties," he said. "Unite has already promised not to strike over the Easter holiday period... that gives us two weeks to find a solution."

(Reuters)