BA makes new offer to end cabin crew row

British Airways made a new offer to the Unite union today in a fresh attempt to end the cabin crew dispute which has already cost the airline more than £150 million.

BA said the offer included two changes which were intended to address cabin crew concerns about their future earnings.

The airline said a new top-up payment was being offered to guarantee that existing crew would not lose out on route allowances when newly-recruited crew begin flying in the autumn.

A proposal to increase staffing levels on some flights, funded by a reduction in crew allowances, has been withdrawn.

The offer also includes two years of guaranteed rises in basic salary from February 2011 in addition to annual increment pay increases.

BA said the new top-up payment meant all crew would receive a guaranteed minimum amount of variable pay, irrespective of the routes they fly.

Crew who are not members of Unite are being invited to accept the offer on an individual basis. Members of Unite who want to accept the offer are being urged to express their views to the union.

BA cabin crew head Bill Francis said: "We have changed our offer in line with feedback we have received from crew and we genuinely believe that it can end this dispute - which is what the vast majority of crew and our customers want."

The new proposal continues to provide existing crew with assurances about their future. These include:

:: A firm commitment that crew can keep their current pay and conditions;

:: An assurance that promotions and part-time contracts within their current fleet will be on existing terms and conditions;

:: An assurance that Heathrow crew can transfer between short-haul and long-haul fleet on current terms and conditions;

:: A fair share of routes and access to new aircraft across all fleets and a commitment to look for opportunities for growth at Gatwick.

Unite announced earlier this week that it will hold a fresh strike ballot among its 12,000 cabin crew members unless there is a breakthrough in the deadlocked row with the airline by next Tuesday.

Voting will take a month, raising the threat of walkouts in the busy month of August. Unite has already taken 22 days of strike action since March.

Responding to BA's latest offer, Unite joint general secretary Derek Simpson said: "While we are not at all optimistic that this offer provides a basis for resolution of the dispute, we will of course be considering it and consulting with our cabin crew representatives before making a formal response."