British Airways cabin crew strike looms after Unite members vote for industrial action
UNITE, the trade union that represents the majority of British Airways (BA) cabin crew, has announced that its members have voted in favour of industrial action.The airline has said that the outcome of the ballot was very disappointing and brings a rene
UNITE, the trade union that represents the majority of British Airways (BA) cabin crew, has announced that its members have voted in favour of industrial action.
The airline has said that the outcome of the ballot was "very disappointing and brings a renewed threat of industrial action, which is completely unjustified".
In the weeks before and during the ballot period, Unite claimed that BA had breached individual crew members' contracts by making modest changes to onboard crew numbers on flights from Heathrow. BA has always said this claim was false, and it was rejected by the High Court three days ago.
A statement from BA read: "The vast majority of crew who voted in this ballot will have done so before the High Court decision. We hope Unite will bear this fact in mind as it considers its next steps.
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"We believe some progress has been made in recent talks under the auspices of the TUC and we reiterate our wish to resolve the issues between us in the interests of our customers and all our staff.
"However, we will not allow Unite to ruin this company. Should a strike take place, we will do everything we can to protect your travel plans as far as possible.
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"We would like to reassure you that all of our flights are continuing to operate as normal at this time."
BA has said that if strike dates are announced, it will put contingency plans in place and communicate them as soon as possible. Passengers will be able to rebook, free of charge and subject to availability, onto other British Airways flights outside of the strike period for up to 355 days from the original date of travel.
Refunds will only be available if flights are actually cancelled or if the original booking conditions allow.
Unite said that 80.7 per cent of all those who returned their ballot forms voted yes to industrial action on a 78.7 per cent turnout. Some 7482 of crew members balloted voted yes with 1789 crew voting no; 11,691 ballot papers were issued.
However, the union has not yet announced dates for industrial action.
Unite assistant general secretary Len McCluskey said: "With this overwhelming vote in the teeth of BA harassment and media misrepresentation, BA's cabin crew have made clear that the deep sense of grievance they feel about their treatment by their employer remains.
"Our members are not mindless militants but men and women committed to their company and their profession, so it is right that they want to be consulted on changes to their jobs.
"The only way forward for this airline is if all parties can negotiate a solution to the issues before us. In recent weeks we have been in serious discussion with BA. We sincerely hope that the continued strength of the vote by crew will give BA pause for thought.
"Meaningful negotiations are continuing at the TUC and bringing them to a successful conclusion is the only way to resolve this dispute. That is why we are not announcing dates for industrial action at this stage.