Unions urge BA to avoid job cuts

The Unite union left the talks saying that “the ball was now in BA’s court”. A further meeting is planned between Unite and BA boss Willie Walsh next week.

“We have urged the company to remove the threat of imposition so that we can continue to talk on 21 October with a view to finding a mutually acceptable solution,” said Steve Turner, Unite national officer.

“It is in BA’s hands now. Removing the threat of imposition would let common sense break out and allow a solution to be found.”

Union sources said that if the imposed changes were removed at that meeting, further discussions could be held, but if no progress is made, a ballot for industrial action is “inevitable”.
The talks between senior BA managers and Unite bosses took place at the conciliation service Acas.

Meanwhile Wille Walsh flew to the US to try and make some progress with the company’s plan for a tie-up with Amercian Airlines. Walsh is seeking approval of the tie-up but for the US to liberalise its domestic market.

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Walsh believes U.S. regulators will probably approve a proposed British Airways Plc-American Airlines alliance without requiring the carriers to surrender flights to rivals at London’s Heathrow airport.

BA, AA and Iberia, their Oneworld alliance partner, have filed for anti-trust immunity for a transatlantic joint-venture that will allow them to co-ordinate schedules and share revenues.