Cabin crew at British Airways have walked out on the final day of planned strike action, with both sides seemingly no closer to reaching agreement.
The Unite union has already warned it will ballot members over the possibility of future industrial action, while BA chief executive Willie Walsh has warned he will fight for “as long as it takes”.
Today marks the conclusion of a series of planned five day strikes, with cabin crew at the British flag-carrier now having completed 22 days of action.
The conciliation service Acas has said a date for the resumption of peace talks has been set. While the dispute initially centred on changes to pay, contracts and working conditions, both sides have now reached agreement on the fundamentals of these reforms.
Disagreement now revolves around Unite’s outstanding grievance with regard to the removal of travel concessions for those who went on strike.
Mr Walsh is refusing to reinstate the perks; a condition Unite says is unacceptable.
With “no end in sight” to the dispute, Unite criticised BA’s decision to “punish these workers and their colleagues for taking industrial action to defend their jobs”.
According to the trade union BA has now spent £147 million on directly combating strikes, and risks losing a further £1.4 billion.
Unite will look to call further strikes over the summer. However, cracks may be beginning to appear among union members.
Talking to the Financial Times one Unite spokesmen said: “Some people are so skint they need to earn money, but others say we need to use the leverage we have.”
British Airways has offered a robust defence to accusations it is experiencing “huge disruption”.
While stating the airline remains “very disappointed Unite are continuing to take strike action”, BA said it planned to operate 80 per cent of its long-haul schedule from Heathrow today, along with 60 per cent of its short-haul flights.
Departures from other locations – including London Gatwick and London City airports –remain unaffected.
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