British Airways strikes: Talks to be held aimed at avoiding cabin crew walkout

'I am delighted that British Airways has heeded our calls for talks,' says Unite general secretary, Len McCluskey

Sunday 18 December 2016 18:06
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If the walkout goes ahead, up to 4,500 staff could be involved
If the walkout goes ahead, up to 4,500 staff could be involved

Talks aimed at averting strikes by British Airways cabin crew over Christmas will be held at Acas on Monday.

Members of Unite trade union are due to walk out on Christmas Day and Boxing Day in a dispute over pay.

An Acas spokesman said: “We can confirm that BA and Unite have accepted our invitation to attend conciliation talks in respect of the cabin crew dispute tomorrow morning.

The row involves about 4,500 mixed fleet cabin crew who have joined BA since 2010.

Unite says they are on lower pay than other staff.

BA, which employs about 16,000 cabin crew, said it was “appalled” that Unite proposed to disrupt customers' travel plans on such special days.

The airline said striking on Christmas Day and Boxing Day would be “heartless”, and planned to ensure its customers could travel to their destinations.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “I am delighted that British Airways has heeded our calls for talks. It is only by getting round the table that we can find a solution to my members' concerns.

“Given the huge profits BA's parent company made last year, the mixed fleet's calls for a living wage and for equal treatment at work and in their pay packets must be heard.

“These are young men and women fighting for justice. Unite will work tirelessly to defend them, to get this dispute solved and to win them the fair and decent treatment they deserve.”

A BA spokesman said: “We are pleased that Unite are willing to meet us at Acas. We remain focused on resolving this as quickly as possible for our customers.”

Trade union chiefs need a “wake-up call” over the disruption a wave of Christmas strikes will cause, a leading Labour MP has warned.

Meg Hillier, chairwoman of the influential Commons financial watchdog the Public Accounts Committee, said union leaders were in danger of shooting themselves in the foot.

But Labour's shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott insisted she would not “second guess” strike decisions even though she acknowledged the industrial action would be “very disastrous” for the public.

What has been dubbed a “Christmas of discontent” sees industrial action planned by rail, postal, and airport workers.

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