Categorized | Airlines

British Airways on strike after talks collapse…

Posted on 20 March 2010

BA cabin crew began a three-day strike Saturday after last-ditch talks on a dispute over pay and conditions collapsed, leaving thousands of travellers facing chaos.

 

Thousands of members of Britain’s biggest trade union, Unite, walked out at midnight Friday, just hours after face-to-face talks broke down between union joint leader Tony Woodley and BA chief executive Willie Walsh.

 

More than 1,000 flights are set to be cancelled over three days, followed by a potentially more disruptive second walkout for four days from March 27 ahead of the busy Easter holiday period.

 

“It’s with great disappointment that I have to tell you all that negotiations have broken down,” Woodley told reporters on Friday evening. “The strike goes ahead at midnight tonight.”

 

He added of BA: “This company does not want to negotiate, this company wants ultimately to go to war with my members.”

 

Woodley accused BA of proposing a deal during the last-minute talks that reduced the amount of pay on offer, saying it was “ridiculous to expect anyone to go to their membership with a worse offer”.

 

A total of 1,100 BA flights out of the approximately 1,950 scheduled to operate during the first strike will be cancelled.

 

But BA has vowed to keep at least 60 percent of passengers flying, using staff who are not striking, as well as leasing up to 22 planes with pilots and crew from up to eight other European airlines.

 

Walsh, who emerged separately from the talks, said: “It’s deeply regrettable that a proposal that we have tabled to Unite that I believe is fair… has not been accepted.

 

“BA will be flying tomorrow and will continue to fly throughout these periods of industrial action.”

Source: USA Today

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