The conciliation service Acas as well as the new government have made a public appeal to both sides in the British Airways cabin crew strike.
Acas is concerned about the impact of the length of the current dispute on the public. It has asked for urgent discussions to attempt to resolve the dispute.
BA says it will “respond positively” to the invitation, adding that it had always said it was available for talks.
Meanwhile the new Transport Secretary Philip Hammond has urged both sides to “hammer out a solution”. “My call to both the unions and the management today is for people to get back to work,” he said.
“Let’s cancel this strike, let’s sit down around the table and hammer out a solution in the interests of passengers, in the interests of the UK economy… and if I may say so, in the long-term interests of the workers involved in this dispute,” he told the BBC.
Unite members rejected a fresh deal for cabin crew earlier this month.
It said there was a turnout of 71% of the cabin crew it represents, and 81% voted against BA’s offer last week, which sought to resolve the dispute over pay and working conditions.
The newly-announced strikes will see staff walk out for a total of 20 days, covering spring bank holiday and school half-term holidays.
Cabin crew will walk out for four separate five-day strikes in May and June. The first strike is scheduled to begin on 18 May, ending on 22 May, with three further strikes beginning on 24 May, 30 May and 5 June.
Football fans planning to fly out to the World Cup in South Africa could also be affected, with the last of the five-day stoppages beginning on the first weekend of the tournament.