New BA strike threat

New BA strike threat

British Airways cabin crew will vote again on possible strike action, following the breakdown of talks between the Union unite and airline executives.

BA said it was “saddened but not surprised” by the decision, but added that it would still continue negotiation talks.

Unite said it will call for a fresh ballot, which could lead to a strike as early as March if cabin crew vote in favour of industrial action.

Len McCluskey, assistant general secretary of Unite, said that “intensive discussions” with the company had failed to secure an agreement, which had led to the decision of a second ballot.

“We therefore have to honour our commitment to give our members the voice they were denied by the courts before Christmas, and hold a fresh ballot for industrial action,” he said.

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BA said the decision to call a ballot called into question Unite’s “good faith”.

The union could choose to delay the strike until the Easter holidays in April to increase disruption. However it is not certain that cabin crew will vote in favour of a strike for a second time, especially if scheduled at Easter, following the intense public resent generated by the planned Christmas strike.

Steve Turner, Unite’s national officer for aviation, said members were nevertheless still angered by the way they had been treated by BA.

He said: “Our members are determined to fight back and we will support them every inch of the way.”

BA announced plans to cut the number of cabin crew on long-haul flights last year as part of a cost-cutting programme to stem record losses.

Unite complained that it was not consulted on the move, which it said involved changes to staff contracts.

In a statement, the airline said those financial pressures meant taking a “realistic” approach.

“We will not allow Unite to ruin this airline - and we believe we have the support of our customers and the vast majority of our staff in that objective,” it said.