The Unite union is this morning set to present a number of alternative cost-cutting proposals to British Airways, in a last ditch effort to prevent strike action at the airline.
The British Airlines Stewards and Stewardesses Association (Bassa) – Unite’s aviation branch – has been meeting BA representatives in London in an attempt to negotiate savings of at least £60 million at the airline.
British Airways has implemented a number of changes to working conditions in recent months, in an attempt to cut costs and stem huge financial losses.
However, changes – which have seen cabin crew numbers on some flights cut – have proved unacceptable to staff, who have voted to strike. Bassa has discussed possible dates for industrial action, with an announcement expected before a March 15th deadline.
BA is now expected to consider the proposals over the weekend, with talks set to resume on Monday.
Long Running Dispute
Bassa represents 12,000 cabin crew at the airline, with huge disruption expected should strike action progress. Up to 81 per cent of members voted in favour of strike action last week.
British Airways – negotiating through the Trade Union Congress (TUC) – has refused to alter its position, with chief executive Willie Walsh last week outlining a detailed strike-breaking plan.
Should Unite proceed with strike action, BA plans to use 1,000 temporary cabin crew recruited from BA’s own ranks while also hiring 23 passenger jets with full crews.
Across the Atlantic strike action has moved a step closer at American Airlines.
A partner to British Airway’s in the oneworld Alliance, American has seen negotiations with flight attendants break down, with union officials saying negotiations are hopelessly stalemated.
Representatives have requested a 30 day cooling of period is sanctioned by the National Mediation Board (NMB), after which staff at the airline could strike. However, there is no guarantee such a request will be granted, with the NMB having rejected similar requests from other unions in the airline industry.
American Airlines is the second largest in the world in terms of operating revenues.