British Airways cabin crew have started a fresh five-day strike as their dispute centred on pay, jobs and conditions continues. The walkout will coincide with half-term holidays, and could be followed by more action starting on 5 June.
It follows talks between between the airline and the Unite union ending on Friday without agreement. Conciliation service Acas said talks had been adjourned and it would now try to arrange futher negotiations.
BA says it hopes to operate more flights in the coming days than during the previous disruption last week as more cabin crew than expected had decided to work as normal during this week’s industrial action.
Chief executive Willie Walsh met Unite’s joint leaders Derek Simpson and Tony Woodley again following a meeting last Wednesday to try to reach a settlement to the row over pay, working conditions and travel perks.
Unite says 121 flights out of 333 scheduled to leave Heathrow on Friday were cancelled.
The airline said it will increase its Heathrow long-haul schedule to more than 70 percent of flights (up from more than 60 percent this week), and its short-haul schedule from the airport to more than 55 percent of flights (up from more than 50 percent this week). The airline said it would continue to fly to every short-haul destination on its network.
Earlier, Mr Woodley repeated his offer to suspend the strikes if BA restored travel concessions to staff who have been on strike. He said he hoped the two sides could pick up the momentum they achieved during the talks on Saturday before negotiations ended in disarray after the activists managed to enter the building in central London and surround Mr Walsh.
Unite has said it will call off the industrial action if the airline restores travel concessions to staff who previously went on strike over the original cause of the dispute - reduced crew levels on long-haul flights.
Woodley said: “The offer is on the table. He [Walsh] can have this strike suspended right now if he returns your travel concessions without loss of seniority.”
Walsh has offered to restore travel perks but only if striking crew are treated as new recruits, which would give non-striking employees better access to the prized discounted travel for BA staff.