BA cabin crew to strike over sickness pay dispute

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The Independent Online

Thousands of British Airways cabin crew are to stage a three-day strike following the breakdown of talks aimed at resolving a dispute over sickness absence, pay and staffing.

The stewards will walk out from 29 to 31 January, threatening travel chaos for the airline's customers.

The Transport and General Workers Union warned there will be two further three-day stoppages in February unless the dispute is resolved.

The union held several meetings with BA management last week following a 96 per cent vote for industrial action by the 11,000 cabin crew workers. But the union announced last night that negotiations had broken down.

Jack Dromey, deputy general secretary of the union, said: "British Airways management have completely failed to engage with the union on our compromise proposals and appear unwilling to listen to this loyal, professional and hard-working group of employees.

"Indeed management had preferred to provoke. Our members are fed up with being bullied into coming to work when sick and with the divisions caused by poverty levels of new entrant pay scales. They see customer care being cut and the airline's reputation damaged by bungling management.

"BA now have seven days to avoid disruption to services. We are ready to resume talks at any time."

The cabin crew complained that a new regime introduced 18 months ago on sickness pay meant they were forced to work when they were ill.

BA insisted it was merely cutting high levels of sickness absence.