Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Fresh talks in bid to avert BA strike

Fresh talks between British Airways and union leaders will be held today in a bid to avert a series of Christmas strikes by thousands of cabin crew.

Unite's joint leaders Tony Woodley and Derek Simpson will meet the airline's bosses to try to find a breakthrough in a bitter row over jobs, pay and working conditions.

BA said it had offered to meet the union at 3pm today, "without preconditions", and Unite later confirmed that talks would be held.

A Unite spokesman said: "We are glad that BA management has seen sense and we hope we can now move from confrontation to negotiation and get the dispute resolved."

BA is pressing ahead with a legal challenge to Unite's ballot of its 12,500 cabin crew members, claiming that some workers who had left the company took part in the voting.

A High Court case is listed for 2pm in London today.

Thousands of cabin crew are due to strike for 12 days from next Tuesday to January 2, threatening travel misery for a million passengers at a cost of tens of millions of pounds to the airline.