British Airways bosses had little time to celebrate shareholders' approval of the planned merger with Iberia with the airline's continuing industrial relations problems threatening to overshadow the deal. The merged company is facing another round of strikes by BA cabin crew in the new year with Unite, their union, calling a fresh ballot on industrial action.
Tony Woodley, the joint general secretary of Unite, said: "British Airways' latest offer is not acceptable to our members, a point we made clear to the airline earlier this month. Regrettably, we have not found it possible to resolve the outstanding issues concerning cabin crew since then. BA told us it was a business in crisis. It demanded structural change. These changes have been made and this business is now in profit with senior management filling their wallets with the spoils."
Among the union's demands is for perks offered to cabin crew but withdrawn in the wake of recent industrial strife, to be reinstated.
BA's chief executive, Willie Walsh, has so far taken an uncompromising line. BA said yesterday: "Today we have taken a big step toward our merger with Iberia. This will create a stronger business for the long-term benefit of our customers, our shareholders and employees. Unite wants to lurch backwards to old-style union militancy. We are moving forwards."