British Airways and trade unions have failed to reach an agreement on cost cutting and compulsory redundancies, sparking fears of proposed strike action.
The flag carrier had set a deadline of last night to finalise a programme of measures, including cutting 3,500 jobs. However it was unable to reach an agreement because of a number of sticking points, including concerns over the number of redundancies, as well as arrangements for consulting over job losses.
Unions are understood to have offered to agree the cost-cutting measures on a temporary basis until the economy and the airline’s fortunes improve, but BA is believed to want to make the changes permanent.
Some reports, including The Telegraph, suggested that BA wants to cut 5,000 jobs and introduce a two year pay freeze for its ground staff and cabin crew.
The two sides are thought to be resuming crunch talks today despite the deadline being passed.
If the dispute is not settled, this could lead to a ballot for industrial action which would threaten disruption during the peak summer period.
A spokesman for Unite said: “We will reconvene on Wednesday to continue negotiations on a mutually acceptable way forward, which protects the long-term interests of our members, loyal BA customers, investors and the company.”
BA issued a statement saying: “The talks have ended. We will continue in due course.”
Union leaders were angered last week when BA announced that almost 7,000 staff had applied for voluntary pay cuts, including 800 who said they will work unpaid for up to a month.
Of the 40,000-strong workforce, 6,940 employees had volunteered for unpaid leave, part-time working or unpaid work, which the company said will save up to £10 million.