British Airways intends to run a full Christmas schedule despite planned strikes

 
Rebecca Smith
No festive turbulence? BA says a full service will be maintained
No festive turbulence? BA says a full service will be maintained (Source: Getty)

British Airways has said it intends to run a full Christmas schedule of flights despite planned industrial action.

The airline hasn't yet provided details of how this will be achieved, but said it had drawn up "contingency plans" so the normal flight programme can go ahead, should conciliation talks at Acas today not succeed.

Alex Cruz, British Airways chief executive and chairman, said: "We are making sure that this attempt to ruin Christmas for thousands of our customers fails. Over the weekend we have been working on detailed contingency plans to ensure that we are able to operate our normal flight programme from all our airports on both Christmas Day and Boxing Day."

Read more: Christmas strikes: Why all the walkouts?

Members of the Unite union are due to walk out on the two festive days over a pay row, after 1,200 members voted for action. Those on mixed fleet contracts - spanning short-haul and long-haul routes - rejected a two per cent pay rise offer last week.

Unite regional officer Matt Smith said: "Our members have overwhelmingly voted for strike action because British Airways’ pay rates are indefensible and the crew are at breaking point."

He added: "Mixed fleet crew earn just over the minimum wage and below the national average. Significant numbers of crew are taking on second jobs, many go to work unfit to fly because they can’t afford to be sick."

Read more: Paddy Power has the odds on which group will call a strike next

Cruz said the mixed fleet crew "do a tremendous job for our customers".

"They earn a competitive salary package, with all crew working full-time receiving a minimum of £21,000 a year. We are seeking to improve this package and we encourage Unite to start a positive dialogue with us about our proposals."

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