British Airways could be hit by strikes in February as unions gear up for a New Year ballot, reports the Observer.
The Unite union is updating its membership list of cabin crew to ensure that the next strike ballot – which could take place as soon as the end of next month – is not ruled unlawful.
Earlier this month the High Court granted BA an injunction because staff who had accepted voluntary redundancy had voted in the ballot.
A 12-day strike was planned from December 22 into the New Year.
It will take a month to organise another ballot, and if crew again vote for a walkout Unite is obliged to give BA seven days’ notice of industrial action.
Thus mid- to late-February would be the earliest date for another strike.
The ruling on December 17 referred to the length of the planned strike, which means it is unlikely Unite would opt for a 12-day walkout.
It also referred to the time of year, meaning Unite is also likely to avoid taking action during high passenger volume times of year such as school holidays and Easter.
The dispute centres on changes in terms and working conditions and staff cuts from long-haul flights, which Unite strongly objects to.
In a letter sent to members over the Christmas period it warns that it will not back down from its stance and urges BA’s chief executive Willie Walsh “to negotiate and bring about peace”.
However, Walsh has indicated that the future of the airline is at stake and that he will not compromise over staff cuts.
The airline is on course to make a £600m pre-tax loss this financial year.