Union urges BA chairman to intervene in dispute

The chairman and board members of British Airways were tonight urged to "use their influence" in a bid to resolve the cabin crew dispute, which descended into a bitter war of words after a weekend of strike action.

Unite and the airline clashed over the impact of the first two days of a three-day walkout, giving wildly different statements about the numbers supporting the action.

Chancellor Alistair Darling said the strike was "totally unnecessary" and continued the government line that the two sides needed to resume talks.

Tony Woodley, joint leader of Unite attacked the "macho" management style of chief executive Willie Walsh and said it was time for the airline's chairman Martin Broughton and "sensible" directors to intervene.

He said that despite "propaganda" from BA about the number of staff working during this weekend's strike, he was certain that the vast majority of Unite members were taking industrial action.

"Contrary to the spin from the company about this strike collapsing, only nine cabin crew have broken ranks and 80 have gone sick.

"I am now appealing to the BA chairman and sensible members of the board to use their influence, put passengers first, and return to the negotiating table for the good of everyone.

"It is quite obvious this strike is in no-one's interest. We need a negotiated settlement."

Mr Woodley wrote an open letter to cabin crew congratulating them on their "magnificent" support for the strike, which is due to continue tomorrow, followed by a four day walkout from next Saturday.

"You have stood up and stood strong for your rights, your dignity and your pride in the face of a bullying management and a malicious Tory media," he wrote.

Mr Woodley urged his members: "Stay strong, be brave, don't be intimidated. Don't let the unfair abuse get to you."

Unite said BA claims about the numbers reporting for work were a "distortion" because they included those flying back to the UK from trips which took them out of the country before the strike started.

The union claimed many planes leaving Heathrow were "ghost flights", with no or only a handful of passengers on board and only minimum crew.

BA said it had reinstated a number of cancelled flights this weekend after maintaining that more crew than expected had turned up for work.

BA claimed 1,157 cabin crew ignored the first day of the three-day stoppage yesterday and reported for duty - equivalent to 97% of Gatwick crew and 52.5% of Heathrow crew.

The airline said in a statement: "Our contingency plans are continuing to work well on Sunday at all airports around the world.

"Our revised schedule of departures at Heathrow and Gatwick is going as planned and many aircraft are now departing full.

"We continue to operate a full Boeing 777 longhaul programme from the UK to more than 30 destinations around the world and are adding in several extra Boeing 747 flights, due to the numbers of crew reporting for work.

"This is on top of the nine extra longhaul flights we added into the schedule last night and will include again today.

"We have also added additional shorthaul flights into our schedule at both Heathrow and Gatwick and customers can now book onto these flights.

"Our charter operators are also continuing to work well with good punctuality levels. These flights are being integrated with our own shorthaul flying schedules at Heathrow and Gatwick.

"On Sunday, cabin crew are continuing to report as normal at Gatwick, and Heathrow levels remain above what we need to operate our published schedule. All of our flights at London City remain unaffected."

At Heathrow airport Canadian Stephanie Matteo, 26, faced a 24-hour delay getting home from a holiday with her boyfriend in Thailand because of the strike.

She was waiting in Terminal 5 with all her baggage unable to check it in after the holiday during which her boyfriend proposed.

"When I got to Bangkok I found out my flight to Montreal was cancelled, so they booked me on a flight to London and told me to go to the BA desk," she explained.

"They told me they have a flight to Vancouver later today and then onto Montreal from there and that means I have a 24-hour delay.

"It's a bit frustrating because I want to get home. What's frustrating the most is that the Canadian Dollar is weak against the pound and food and drink here cost three times more."

Diane Huntley, 50, and her daughter Robin, from Maine in America, endured a nine-hour bus trip from Edinburgh when their connecting flight to Heathrow Terminal 5 was cancelled.

Mr Woodley said he was "ashamed" when he saw TV pictures this weekend of strikers concealing their faces to avoid being identified, continuing: "Willie Walsh seems to forget he is in Britain, not Burma. He talks about respect - he should practice what he preaches."

The union leader said BA had made a "take-it-or-leave-it offer" last Friday, which was worse than one withdrawn during previous talks, adding: "As a leader with 40 years' experience as an industrial negotiator the offer was not, in my judgment and in all honesty, one I could have recommended to myself, never mind you.

"Specifically, it would not have given you the protection you are entitled to expect in respect of the allocation of your routes, destinations and time off and to a degree pay when new fleet comes in, still less your basic pay rates into the future. Additionally, we reached no agreement on dispensation to retain your democratic strike mandate as legally-valid even had we put the offer to a ballot.

"Today, I will be appealing to British Airways at board level to take matters in hand and restart negotiations to reach an agreement which would allow the strike scheduled for next weekend to be averted and put your airline on the road to recovery.

"I know that is what you all want, and it is what the travelling public expect. We have said all along that negotiations, not litigation, intimidation nor confrontation is the way forward.

"BA must understand that capitulation is not on the menu either."

Unite tonight published a so-called "dossier of disgrace", accusing BA of bullying and harassment of union members and officials, and claiming that 38 staff had been suspended or disciplined.

News
A Brazilian wandering spider
news

World's most lethal spider found under a bunch of bananas

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Wonnacott dancing the pasadoble
TVStrictly Come Dancing The Result
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in the win over QPR
footballInternet reacts to miss shocker for Liverpool striker
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Voices
Sol Campbell near his home in Chelsea
voices
News
<p>Jonathan Ross</p>
<p>Jonathan Ross (or Wossy, as he’s affectionately known) has been on television and radio for an extraordinarily long time, working on a seat in the pantheon of British presenters. Hosting Friday Night with Jonathan Ross for nine years, Ross has been in everything from the video game Fable to Phineas and Ferb. So it’s probably not so surprising that Ross studied at Southampton College of Art (since rebranded Southampton Solent), a university known nowadays for its media production courses.</p>
<p>However, after leaving Solent, Ross studied History at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, now part of the UCL, a move that was somewhat out of keeping with the rest of his career. Ross was made a fellow of the school in 2006 in recognition of his services to broadcasting.</p>
TV

Rumours that the star wants to move on to pastures new

News
Kimi the fox cub
newsBurberry under fire from animal rights group - and their star, Kimi
Arts and Entertainment
filmsIt's nearly a wrap on Star Wars: Episode 7, producer reveals
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Russell Brand labelled 'left-wing commie scum' by Fox News
TV
News
Paul Nuttall, left, is seen as one of Ukip's key weapons in selling the party to the North of England
i100
Arts and Entertainment
BBC's Antiques Roadshow uncovers a TIE fighter pilot helmet from the 1977 Star Wars film, valuing it at £50,000
TV

TV presenter Fiona Bruce seemed a bit startled by the find during the filming of Antiques Roadshow

News
people

Comedian says he 'never laughed as hard as I have writing with Rik'

News
i100
Life and Style
tech
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

1st Line Technical Support Engineer

£22000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Thame i...

Graduate Project Manager

£25000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsf...

Drama Teacher

£110 - £135 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: We are seeking a Drama tea...

Science teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: We are seeking a languages...

Day In a Page

Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past