British Airways summer strike stand-off: Unite union warns of ongoing legal action in bitter pay row as it calls for fresh talks

Rebecca Smith
BA has been embroiled in a long-running row with members of its mixed fleet cabin crew
BA has been embroiled in a long-running row with members of its mixed fleet cabin crew (Source: Getty)

The bitter dispute involving cabin crew on British Airways shows no sign of letting up yet, after Unite warned of continued legal action and rising costs for the carrier from wet leasing aircraft should BA not engage in fresh talks.

Union members working as cabin crew for BA’s mixed fleet, operating both long-haul and short-haul routes, have carried out industrial action for more than 60 days so far in a row over pay and the sanctioning of striking workers, with an update last week that walkouts would continue for the whole of August.

Read more: British Airways staff to strike for two weeks in August

Unite national officer Oliver Richardson, said yesterday:

It would cost British Airways mere pennies compared to its soaring profits to solve this dispute.

Yet still the airline insists on spending millions on wet leasing aircraft and the prospect of mounting legal costs to defend low pay and punishing workers on poverty pay.

Our members are clear in their determination. We would urge British Airways to get around the negotiating table and hammer out a resolution to this dispute to avoid the disruption and financial cost of continued strike action.

The union cited its legal action on behalf of mixed fleet cabin crew, that it says have been sanctioned for taking strike action, including the removal of bonuses and incentives, and travel concessions.

BA however, has reiterated its stance announced earlier this month when Unite announced the strike had been extended to the August bank holiday.

A spokesperson for the airline said:

More than three months ago Unite agreed that our pay deal was acceptable but have since refused to ballot their members on it.

We took the significant step of offering to return staff travel to crew who had been on strike, which was the biggest outstanding issue in the dispute, in order to bring the dispute to an end.

Unite chose to reject this offer and continues with unnecessary strike action.

BA has continued to pledge that all customers will be flown to their destination, despite the strikes. For the most recent batch of walkouts – from 2 August running until next Tuesday – the airline planned to operate its normal schedule of short-haul flights to and from Heathrow, with an ongoing setup with Qatar Airways “flying a small number of these services on our behalf”.

It has merged a small number of Heathrow services, but has been leasing planes and crews from Qatar Airways in order to provide strike cover.

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