BA talks begin as unions threaten action

The letter, signed by Unites’ joint general secretaries Derek Simpson and Tony Woodley, indicates that crew from both former sections of the union – the TGWU and Amicus – have “already declared for industrial action if imposition of changes occurs”.

“If the threat of imposition is not removed now,” the union chiefs say, “we will have no alternative but to seek an immediate mandate from you in a joint ballot for industrial action.”

The union is urging BA boss Willie Walsh to reach a negotiated settlement, The talks between senior BA managers and Unite bosses are due to take place at the conciliation service Acas.
Unions are clearly upset that BA made an “unprecedented unilateral decision” through the press, without providing unions and staff with any advance notice.

However BA believes that the announcement is part of the cuts that they have been discussing with the union since January. A spokesman said, “We are always available to talk with our unions. But the changes we have announced will go ahead as planned.”

In the year to the end of March, BA made a loss of £401m - its biggest loss since it was privatised in 1987 - and has warned that it expects to make another loss in the current financial year.