British Airways has called in the conciliation service ACAS after failing to reach an agreement with unions over job losses and pay cuts as it attempts to head off a summer of strike action.
The airline announced today that it had asked ACAS to host future meetings with its unions after last night’s deadline to reach a deal passed without agreement. Talks with unions had been expected today but unions are unions claiming that BA management failed to turn up.
BA said in a statement: “It has not proved possible to conclude an agreement with the trade unions on our pay and productivity discussions by the deadline of June 30.
“We have therefore asked the conciliation service, ACA, to faciliate any future meetings we may have.”
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.
If the dispute is not settled, this could lead to a ballot for industrial action which would threaten disruption during the peak summer period.
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.