Key events in BA cabin crew dispute

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The Independent Online

Here is a timeline of some of the key events in the dispute involving British Airways cabin crew.

2009

October 6: The airline announces plans to cut 1,700 cabin crew jobs and freeze pay. Union officials accuse the company of "holding a gun" to the heads of staff and warn they are prepared to fight the proposals.

October 26: The threat of a pre-Christmas strike by cabin crew increases when a ballot for industrial action is announced among almost 14,000 workers.

November 2: More than 2,500 members of Unite travel from across the world to attend a mass meeting which backs calls for industrial action.

November 16: Thousands of cabin crew start voting, with more than 12,000 ballot papers issued.

December 14: Cabin crew announce a 12-day strike from December 22 to January 2 following a 9-1 vote in favour of industrial action. BA says the strikes are "completely unjustified".

December 17: The High Court rules the strike cannot go ahead. BA wins its legal challenge after claiming that Unite had balloted hundreds of members who had subsequently left the company. Unite says cabin crew will be reballoted.

2010

March 15: After cabin crew vote in favour of industrial action, then prime minister Gordon Brown describes the planned strikes as "deplorable" and says they should be called off. British Airways says it plans to keep 60% of its customers flying if cabin crew go ahead with the first strike.

March 19: Talks between BA and Unite collapse. BA boss Willie Walsh confirms that any worker who joins the strike will lose their travel perks, including flights at vastly reduced cost.

March 20: At the stroke of midnight, British Airways cabin crew walk out, commencing their three-day action.

March 24: BA tells striking cabin crew they will lose their travel perks. Unite vows to fight the action.

May 10: Following further strikes and Unite's rejection of a BA offer, Unite announces plans for 20 days of action following the rejection of BA's offer. Cabin crew say they will walk out on May 18-22 inclusive, May 24-28, May 30-June 3 and June 5-9.

May 14: British Airways announces it is to take legal action in a bid to prevent the strikes. Meanwhile it is announced that conciliation service Acas has asked both BA and Unite to attend fresh peace talks.

May 17: Less than 24 hours before new action is due to start, BA wins an 11th-hour injunction banning strike action.

May 20: Unite wins an appeal against the BA injunction and announces that the strikes are back on and will commence on May 24.

May 21: BA posts annual losses of £531 million.

May 22: Talks at averting the strikes end in disarray after demonstrators storm the building in which they are taking place. Mr Walsh has to be escorted from the building by police.

May 24: Strike action begins, with members of Unite launching a five-day walkout.

June 2: Union leaders claim the strikes have cost the airline £112 million and it could lose £1.4 billion as passengers switch to other carriers.

June 8: Striking British Airways cabin crew tell MPs there was a "climate of fear" at the airline as they stage their 21st day of industrial action.

June 10: British Airways chief executive Mr Walsh turns down a bonus of £330,000 for the previous financial year.

June 24: British Airways launches a recruitment drive for new cabin crew under plans to cut costs.

June 25: British Airways makes a new offer to Unite in a fresh attempt to end the dispute.

June 27: Unite is set to postpone a new British Airways strike ballot so it can consider a fresh offer from the airline.

July 7: British Airways cabin crew to start voting on a new offer aimed at averting fresh strikes.

July 20: British Airways cabin crew reject the airline's final offer to end the dispute by 3,419 votes to 1,686.

July 26: The dispute takes a fresh twist when Unite announces it is taking legal action over the removal of travel concessions from cabin crew who have been on strike.

July 30: British Airways says it has made a pre-tax loss of £164 million for the three months to June 30.

July 31: More than 80 cabin crew have been suspended and 13 sacked because of incidents related to the dispute, it emerges.

August 9: British Airways expresses "delight" after its Heathrow customer service staff vote overwhelmingly to accept new working practices.

August 19: The dispute is set to return to the courts with fresh legal action by the union.

November 23: Union leaders express anger at the suspension of a cabin crew member after she collected contributions for colleagues facing disciplinary action.

November 24: Len McCluskey, newly appointed general secretary of Unite, attacks the "culture of fear" at British Airways.

2011

January 10: Almost three out of four members of British Airways cabin crew have witnessed or been victims of bullying, Unite says.

January 21: Cabin crew vote in favour of fresh strikes.

February 8: Unite to hold a fresh strike ballot following a "legal blitz" from the airline, the union says.

February 22: A fresh ballot will be held next month, it is announced.

March 28: Cabin crew vote by more than 8-1 to stage fresh strikes.

April 14: British Airways and Unite agree a 28-day extension before any further strike action is called.

May 12: The dispute is on the verge of being resolved following a breakthrough in crucial talks aimed at ending the long-running row.

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