More BA workers vote to strike

The threat of a summer of disruption for air travellers worsened significantly yesterday when a second group of British Airways workers voted overwhelmingly to go on strike.

More than 9,000 ground staff at Heathrow and Gatwick have voted for industrial action by a margin of around 70 per cent - similar to the outcome of a ballot among cabin crew announced on Wednesday. The result of the vote by airport workers is due to be disclosed on Monday.

While the two sets of employees are involved in separate disputes, it is virtually certain that the action would be co-ordinated to put the maximum pressure on management.

Tony Blair has kept in close contact with developments through his friendship with Bill Morris, general secretary of the Transport and General Workers' Union, and Bob Ayling, chief executive of BA, who is acting as a government adviser on business issues. Both sides have been left in no doubt that ministers want to avoid an economically damaging conflict, and officials from conciliation service Acas have already met with senior representatives of the union.

The ground workers are protesting over the sell-off of the airline's catering division, which employs 1,400 staff, and cabin crew are fighting a new pay and productivity package which is being imposed by management.

It is thought that the company might seek to drive a wedge between airport personnel and stewards and stewardesses. Catering staff, many of them from the Indian sub-continent, are particularly angry that a sell-off would eventually mean they would lose their concessionary travel. The company might seek to give them additional guarantees to allay their fears.

On Monday, cabin-crew representatives are due to decide on the form of industrial action, to be followed by a similar meeting of airport shop stewards on Tuesday. In the absence of a settlement, it is thought that they will opt for stoppages of 24- to 48-hours' duration. Under the law, unions have to give employers seven days' notice of walk-outs, so that strikes could begin on Tuesday week.

The threat of stoppages has already meant that corporate travel companies have been seeking to book clients with other airlines. Even if the industrial action is called off next week, the company will have lost millions of pounds.

Management is expected to send out warnings to airport personnel this weekend warning them of the consequences of strikes. Cabin crew have already been told that they could face the sack for walking out and the airline argues they could also be held personally responsible for losses.

Elaborate arrangements have been made to keep aircraft flying in the event of a strike. Non-trade unionists and members of the breakaway Cabin Crew '89 union are being offered protection from militant pickets so that they can continue to come into work. Managers and temporary personnel have been trained to take over the jobs of strikers.

t Barclays Bank is threatened with disruption after staff voted for a ballot on industrial action in protest at a proposed pay package. Members of two unions will now vote on whether to mount a campaign of action including three-day strikes, overtime bans and a work-to-rule. The unions claim a membership of nearly 40,000 out of a workforce of up to 60,000.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher A specialist primary school i...

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links