British Airways Strike Ballot Begins Again

March 2, 2011

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British Airways cabin crew are being balloted again over industrial action in a long-running industrial dispute.

The Unite union is re-running a ballot first held before Christmas after airline management challenged the legality of the previous vote.

It is the fourth ballot in the past two years in the bitter and long-running dispute. The original issue was about management's cost cutting plans but now centres on disciplinary action ordered by management which saw travel perks taken from striking staff.

The three previous ballots have been challenged by BA management on technicalities but the union says it plans this time to observe the precise details of industrial law to avoid a further challenge.

Passengers will be concerned about the possibility of strikes over the Easter holiday period although union sources have played down the prospect of striking during April.

BA management has already said that in the event of a further strike it will plan to run all long haul and short haul routes.

New BA chief executive Keith Williams has written to cabin crew and said he wants a positive relationship with them. He replaced Willie Walsh who was regarded by some as being combative.

The ballot runs from today until March 28.

Unite is seeking restoration of travel perks and all individual cases arising from the action being referred to the conciliation body ACAS. It has also said it wants to discuss the way management handles industrial relations within the airline.

(Ken Symon)